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Cornell University 

The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 














IS KNOWN TO EXIST ffi « fig 










IT is now more years ago than I care to remember 
since the outline of this book suggested itself 
to me. Undeterred by the adverse opinion of 
some who insisted that there was little or nothing, 
worth the telling, to be said of the earlier Speakers — 
with the possible exceptions of Coke, Lenthall and Arthur 
Onslow, to mention the three names which most readily 
occur to the superficial enquirer — I received sufficient 
encouragement from the late Sir Archibald Milman and 
other friends to induce me to supplement and revise 
the earlier labours of Townsend and Manning in the 
same field. 

The outcome of these years of toil, performed in the 
intervals of officieil duty, is a blend of history and bio- 
graphy based on authentic records, and leavened, here 
and there, with topographical matter tending to throw 
light upon some of the obscurities which surround the 
origin of Parliaments. I have endeavoured to show the 
close nature of the ties which united the greatest of 
Benedictine Monasteries to the popular assembly in 
the earliest days of its existence, though I must admit 
that the allusions to Parliament remaining in the archives 


of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster are disappoint- 
ingly few. 

There are occasional entries in the carefully kept 
accounts of the monks of wine bought by the abbots 
for the entertainment of distinguished personages re- 
pairing to Westminster in obedience to the Royal 
summons, but, with the exception of the extremely 
interesting entry on page 45 of this volume, I have 
found little which adds to our previous knowledge of 
the relations of Church and State in the Middle Ages. 

One minor survival of this ancient connection may 
be mentioned here. This is the custom, still annually 
observed, of opening the gate leading from Dean's 
Yard into Great College Street on the first day of a 
new session, but on no other. 

This practice, far from being a mere police regulation 
of modem date, carries the mind back to that remote 
period when the Plantagenet Kings, in conjunction 
with the Abbots of Westminster and the Archbishops 
of Canterbury, watched with jealous care the growth 
of representative institutions. 

In the middle of the fourteenth century that great 
ecclesiastic Simon Langham, who sleeps to-day in the 
chapel of St. Benedict, walked with mejisured steps to 
his place in the House of Lords, resplendent in jewelled 
cope and mitre, escorted by a long train of attendant 
priests and acolytes, and with his processional cross of 
gold borne high before him. 

In his progress to the Palace he would have met a 


throng of knights, scarcely less picturesque in their 
glittering armour than his own cort^e, making peaceful 
invasion of his monastic house. 

Drawn from every shire in the land, they filled the 
cloisters and choked the vestibules leading to the Chapter 
House or to some other chamber temporarily set apart 
for their use, there forthwith to deliver a mighty shout 
of assent (or the contrary, as the case might be) to the 
demands of their sovereign lord for the support of the 
realm and the maintenance of his Royal estate. 

There would be little or nothing in the way of dis- 
cussion. Their voices were collected then and there 
by some official of the Court, as they stood leaning on 
their swords. It is true that the carrying of arms 
within the Palace during the sittings of Parliament had 
been discountenanced by Edward II, but the prohibition 
was so commonly disregarded that his successor formally 
sanctioned the practice in the case of Earls and Barons, 
save only in his Royal presence. Once their duty had 
"been performed, the Knights of the Shire were at liberty 
to depart to their homes, and, until they were again 
summoned to Westminster to repeat the process with 
little or no variation, save in the amount of the subsidy 
required of them, the monks could pursue their ordinary 
avocations undisturbed by the clank of spurs and the 
tramp of armed men. 

Having very briefly outlined the nature of an early 
Parliamentary assembly, I may here indulge in a frag- 
ment of autobiography by way of excuse for having 


attempted the history of over two hundred separate 
elections to the Chair, covering between them a period 
of more than seven centuries. 

Bom as I was under the shadow of the Abbey — in 
the Broad Sanctuary — it was my good fortune to re- 
ceive my first intelligent impressions of Westminster 
from the lips of my father's friend and neighbour, the 
late Dean Stanley. In a sense I may be said to have 
assisted at the funeral of Lord Palmerston, and, inci- 
dentally, at the inauguration of a new Parliamentary 
epoch, for I retain to this day a vivid recollection of 
being held up at a window by my nurse to see that great 
man's cof&n carried into the Abbey by the west door. As 
a boy I was present at the last Westminster election 
fought under the old system, and I remember the 
hustings in Trafalgar Square. 

But my most enduring memories of the Abbey and 
its priceless historical associations are those which I 
received from the holder of an ecclesiastical office, unique 
in its dignity in this or any other country, and it would 
be strange, indeed, if I had not acquired from the teach- 
ings of so fascinating a guide an abiding interest in 
Westminster, and all that it means to Englishmen. 
Somehow my life has been bound up with the place of 
my birth. Returning to it in 1882 — on the nomination 
of Sir Thomas Erskine-May (Lord Famborough), my 
first ofiicial chief, to devote myself to the service of 
the House of Commons — for more than a quarter of a 
century the greater part of my days, and, in the aggregate. 


an appalling number of hours after midnight, have been 
passed within the walls of St. Stephen's. 

I need hardly say that this book is written in no party 
spirit, nor is it designed to serve any purpose other 
than that of accuracy. 

My publisher has shown such zeal and enthusiasm 
in the preparation of the portraits and other illustrations, 
that it will be unnecessary for me to add a word con- 
cerning them. I may say, however, that, to the best 
of my belief, no likeness of either Catesby, Dudley, or 
Empson has ever been published before. The various 
printed authorities consulted are, in the majority 
of instances, indicated in the footnotes, but I desire 
to acknowledge here my frequent indebtedness to 
Messrs. Longmans' recently completed Political History 
of England. 

Sir Courtenay Ilbert, k.c.b., the present Clerk of the 
House, gave me the benefit of his views on Mediseval 
Parliaments, but my especial thanks are due to Mr. 
T. L. Webster, the second Clerk Assistant of the House, 
for many valuable suggestions throughout the course 
of my labours, and for unreservedly placing his know- 
ledge of the more technical questions dealt with in 
these pages at my disposal. Mr. M. W. Patterson, of 
Trinity College, Oxford, was good enough not only to 
help me in the revision of the proof sheets, but to save 
me from many errors both of omission and commission. 
The Rev. R. B. Rackham, of the Deanery, Westminster, 
searched the Sacrist's and other Rolls in the Abbey 


Muniment room with a view to helping me in this branch 
of my researches. Miss Lenthall, of Besselsleigh, Berks, 
a descendant of the celebrated Speaker of that name, 
also gave me much valuable information, as did Colonel 
La Terriere, the present owner of Burford Priory. 

Last, but by no means least, I must tender my grateful 
acknowledgments to Mr. J. Horace Round, the first 
living authority on peerage law and the most discrimin- 
ating, as well as the most fascinating, genealogist of the 
present age. 

He kindly brought to my notice the very instructive 
account of the election of Sir Thomas Lovell to the Chair 
in the first year of Henry VII. Though unfortunately 
received too late for incorporation in my Tudor chapter, 
I trust that it will gain importance by appearing, as it 
does, in an Appendix at the end of the book. The same 
remark applies to the speech of Sir Thomas More, on 
presentation for the Royal approval, which I have also 
placed by itself, on. account of the eminence of the man 
who made it. 

I shall be grateful for any additions or corrections 
which I may be favoured with, and, especially, for any 
unpublished letters or documents relating to individual 


The Dutch HoasB, Hampton-on-Thames, 
February yk, igir. 




Westminster in the Reign of Henry III. The Isle 
OF Thorns. The Palace and the Abbey. Prefer- 
ence OF Henry for Westminster. Dawn of the 
English Constitution. Westminster the earliest 
Meeting-place of the Complete Parliament. . 3 


The House of Commons under the Plantagenets . 22 


The House of Lancaster and the Influence of the 
Wars of the Roses upon Parliamentary Institutions 6 1 


The House of Commons under the House of York, 
A period, for the most part, of subserviency to 
the Crown 87 


Westminster and Parliament in Tudor Times. Re- 
striction OF THE Powers of the House of Commons 
and increased Power of the Privy Council . 99 


The Stuarts and the Liberties of the People . 164 




The Houses of Hanover and Saxe-Coburg Gotha. 
Rise of the System of Cabinet Government, with 
Ministerial Responsibility TO Parliament . .251 

Catalogue of Speakers from the Earliest Times to 
THE Present Day, with the Places they sat for, 
THE Dates of their Appointment to and close of 
Office, etc 341 

Appendix I 419 

Appendix II 421 

Index 425 


Sir Thomas Hungerford, 1376-7 . Frontispiece {in colour) 

From a stained-glass window in Farleigh Hungerford Church. 
Drawn by Stanley North. 


The Jewel Tower, Westminster 

From a drawing by L. Hussell Conway, 

Staircase and Ancient Doorway in the Jewel Tower 

From a photograph by Sir Benjamin Stone. 

Vaulted Chamber in the Jewel Tower . 

From a photograph by Sir Benjamin Stone. 

Sir Thomas Hungerford, 1376-7 

From a drawing in the National Portrait Gallery. 

Sir Thomas Hungerford, 1376-7 

Trom a drawing b^ 

at Farleigh Casti 

From a drawing by Stanley North of the monumental effigy in the chapel 
" ' ■ ■ " ;le. 

Formerly in the north side of the nave of Salisbury Cathedral. Reproduced 
I Goi 




Henry IV claiming the Throne of England . . . 60 

From the Harleian Manuscripts. 

Sir Arnold Savage, 1400-1, 1403-4 . . . . 66 

From a brass in S. Chancel of Bobbing Church, Kent. 

John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester . . . 70 

From a monumental effigy in Ely Cathedral. 

Thomas Chaucer, 1407, 1409-10, 1411, 1414, 1421 . . . 72 

From a print of the memorial brass in Ewelme Church, Oxfordshire. 

Sir Walter Hungerford, afterwards Lord Hungerford, 1414 74 

Tormerly in the north side of the nave of I 
from Gough's Sepulchral Mouumenis. 

Roger Hunt, 1420 . . . ... 76 

From a memorial brass of 1473 in Great Linford Church, Bucks. It may 
possibly be that of his son. 

Effigy of Sir Richard Vernon, 1425-6 . . . . 78 

In the Church of Tong, Shropshire. 

Sir John Say, 1448-9. 1463. 1467 . • ... 80 

From a brass in Broxbourne Church, Herts. Reproduced from Waller's 
Monumental Brasses, 1864. 

William Catesby, 1483-4 • • ... 96 

From a memorial brass at Ashby St. Ledgers, Northants. 



. 102 

Sir Thomas Lovell, 1485 {in photogravure) . 

From the bronze medallion in Henry VII Chapel, Westminster Abbey, by 
Torregiano (photogravure). 

Sir John Mordaunt, 1487 . . ... 

From a monumental effigy in Turvey Church, Beds. 

Sir Richard Empson, 1491, and Edmond Dudley, 1503-4, 
WITH Henry VII . . . ... 

From a painting in the possession of the Duke of Rutland. 

Sir Robert Drury, 1495 • • • 

From a monumental effigy in St. Mary's Church, Bury St. Edmunds. 

Sir Reginald Bray, 1496 . . . 

From a drawing in the possession of Mr. Justice Bray of a window in the 
Priory Church, Malvern. 

Sir Robert Sheffield, 1511-12 . 

From a print. 

Sir Thomas Nevill, 1514-15 

From a memorial brass in Mereworth Church, Kent. 

Sir Thomas More, 1523 .... 

From a painting at the Speaker's House. 

Sir Thomas Audley, 1529 

From a painting at the Speaker's House. 

Sir Humphrey Wingfield, 1533 . 

From a painting in the possession of Major J. M. Wingfield, Tickencote Hall, 





Sir Richard Rich, 1536 . . ... 

From a print. 

Sir John Baker, 1545, 1547 . . ... 

From a drawing in the National Portrait Gallery. 

Sir James Dyer, 1552-3 . . . ... 

Reproduced from an original painting in the possession of Canon Mayo, of 
Long Burton, Farley. 

Sir Robert Brooke, 1554 . . . . 

From a drawing at the National Portrait Gallery. 

Sir Clement Heigham, 1554 . . . . 

From a drawing in the National Portrait Gallery. 

Sir William Cordell, 1557-8 

From a portrait at St. John's College, Oxford. 

Sir Thomas Gargrave, 1558-9 . . . . 

From a painting in the possession of Milner Gibson Gery Cullum, Esq. 

Thomas Williams, 1562-3 . . . . 

From a memorial brass at Harford Church, Devon. 






Sir Christopher Wray, 1571 

From a painting in the National Portrait Gallery. 

Richard Onslow, 1566 . 

From a painting in the Speaker's House. 

Sir Robert Bell, 1572 . 

From a print. 

Sir John Popham, 1580-1 

From a painting in the National Portrait Gallery. 

Sir John Puckering, 1584, 1586. 

From his tomb in Westminster Abbey. From a print. 

Speaker Snagge's Monument, 1588-9 

At Marston Morteyne, Beds. From a drawing. 

Letter from Lord Burghley to Speaker Snagge, 1588-9 
Sir Edward Coke, 1592-3 

From a painting at Holkham. 

Sir Christopher Yelverton, 1597 

From a print. 

Sir John Croke, 1601 

From a drawing in the National Portrait Gallery. 

Sir Edward Phelips, 1603-4 

From a painting at Montacute, Somerset. 

Montacute, Somerset . 

Built by Sir Edward Phelips. 

Sir Randolph Crewe, 1614 

From a painting in the Speaker's House. 

Sir Thomas Richardson, 1620-1 . 

From a drawing in the National Portrait Gallery 

Sir Thomas Crewe, 1623-4, 1625 . 

From a painting in the Speaker's House. 

Sir Heneage Finch, 1625-6 

From a painting at Guildhall, by J. M. Wright. 

Sir John Finch, 1627-8 . . . _ 

From a painting by Van Dyck in the possession of Lord Barnard. 

The Knights, Citizens and Burgesses of the Counties, 
Cities and Borough Townes of England and Wales and 


holden at Westminster the 17 of March, 1627-8, in the 
Third Year of the Raigne of our Soveraigne Lord 
King Charles, etc. (Speaker, Sir John Finch) 

From a woodcut in the possession of Sir Walter Spencer-Stanhope, 
















. 182 

Sir John Glanville, 1640 , . . . 

From a painting at the National Portrait Gallery. 
William Lenthall, 1640, 1647, 1654, 1659 (2), 1659-50 . . 184 

From a painting in the National Portrait Gallery. 

Westminster as Speaker Lenthall knew it . . .186 

From Hollar's etching of New Palace Yard. 

John Rushworth, Clerk Assistant of the House of Commons, 

1640 . . . . ... 192 

From a painting at the Speaker's House. 

BuRFORD Priory, formerly the Residence of Speaker 

Lenthall, as restored in 1908-9 . ... 204 

Henry Pelham, 1647 . . . / ... 208 

From a painting in the possession of the Earl of Yarborough. 

Francis Rous, 1653 . . . ... 210 

From a print. 

Sir Thomas Widdrington, 1656 . . ... 212 

From a drawing in the National Portrait Gallery. 

BULSTRODE WHITELOCKE, 1656-7 . . ... 212 

From a painting in the National Portrait Gallery. 

Chalonbr Chute, 1658-9 . . ... 214 

From a painting at the Vyne, Basingstoke. 

Sir Harbottlb Grimston, 1660 . . ... 214 

From a painting in the National Portrait Gallery by Lely. 

The Mace . . . . ... 216 

From a tshotograph in the possession of the Serjeant-at-Arms (Mr. H. D. 
Erskine, of Cardross). 

Sir Edward Turnour, 1661 . . ... 218 

From a painting in the Speaker's House. 

Sir Job Charlton, 1672-3 . . ... 222 

From a painting in the Speaker's House. 

Sir Edward Seymour, 1672-3, 1678, 1678-9 . . . 224 

From a drawing in the National Portrait Gallery. 

Sir Robert Sawyer, 1676 . . ... 226 

From a painting in the possession of the Earl of Carnarvon. 

Sir William Gregory, 1678-9 . . ... 228 

From a painting in the Speaker's House. 

Sir William Williams, 1680, 1680-1 . ... 228 

From a painting in the Speaker's House. 

Sir John Trevor, 1685, 1689-90 . . ... 230 

From a painting in the Speaker's House. 



Henry Powlb, 1688-9 • • . ... 232 

From a print. 

Stoke Edith, Herefordshire. Built by Speaker Foley . 234 
Paul Foley, 1694-5, 1695 . , ... 234 

From a miniature in the possession of Paul Henry Foley, Esq., at Stoke Edith. 

Sir Thomas Littleton, 1698 . . ... 236 

From a print. 

Robert Harley, 1700-1, 1701, 1702 . ... 238 

From a painting in the National Portrait Gallery. 

John Smith, 1705, 1707 . . . ... 240 

From a drawing in the National Portrait Gallery. 

Sir Richard Onslow, 1708 . . . • . . 242 

From a painting in the Speaker's House. 

William Bromley, 1710 . . ... 244 

From a print. 

Sir Thomas Hanmer, 1 7 13-14 . . ... 250 

From a print. 

Sir Spencer CoMPTON, 1714-IS, 1722 . ... 252 

From a print. 

Arthur Onslow, 1727-8, 1734-S, 1741, 1747, 1754 . . 254 

From a painting in the National Portrait Gallery. 

Speaker Arthur Onslow's House in Soho Square . . 256 

No. 90, formerly Falconbergh House. 

Westminster as Speaker Onslow knew it ... 262 

From Lediard and Fourdrinier's Map of 1740. 

Jeremiah Dyson, Clerk of the House of Commons 1814-20 . 268 

From a portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds in the possession of Mrs. Myddelton. 

Sir John Cust, 1761, 1768 . . ... 27^ 

From a painting in the Speaker's House. 

Sir Fletcher Norton, 1770, 1774 . . ... 278 

From a painting by Sir Wm. Beechy in the possession of Lord Grantley. 

Sir Fletcher Norton . . . ... 280 

A caricature by Ingleby lent by Lord Grantley. 

Charles Wolfran Cornwall, 1780, 1784 . ... 282 

From a painting by Gainsborough in the Speaker's House. 

William Wyndham Grenville, 1789 . . . . 286 

From a painting in the National Portrait Gallery. 

Henrv Addington, 1789, 1790, 1796, 1801 . . . 290 

From a print. 



Sketch of the Interior of St. Stephen's, with Portraits of 
Addington, Speaker Abbot, and John Ley (Clerk of the 
House) . . . . ... 292 

From a print by Js. Gillray. 

Sir John Mitford, 1801 . . ... 294 

From a painting in the Speaker's House. 

Charles Abbot, 1802 (2), 1806, 1807, 1812 . . . 298 

From a print. 

Charles Mannkrs-Sutton, 1817, 1819, 1820, 1826, 1830, 1831, 

1833 . . . . ... 304 

From a print. 

Speaker Manners-Sutton. "Make Way for Mr. Speaker" 314 

By H. B. 

Jambs Abercromby, 1835, 1837 . . ... 318 

From a print. 

Charles Shaw-Lefevre, 1839, 1841, 1847, 1852 . . . 320 

From a print. 

John Evelyn Denison, 1857, 1859, '866, 1868 . . . 326 

From a print. 

Henry Bouverie William Brand, 1872, 1874, 1880 . . 334 

From an engraving in the possession of the Serjeant-at-Arms after F. Sargent. 

Arthur Wbllesley Peel, 1884, 1886 (2), 1892 . . . 336 

William Court Gully, 1895 (2), 1900 . ... 338 

James William Lowther, 1905, 1906, 1910, 191 1 . . . 340 


yABOUT two years ago Mr. Arthur Dasent wrote, 

/ ^ as a stranger, offering me his book on the 

y ^ Speakers of the House of Commons from the 

earhest times to the present day, hoping that 

I would publish it and that I would afford the book 

eight or twelve illustrations. He was informed, when I 

replied, that if I undertook the publication I would give 

a picture of every Speaker of whom we could find a 

portrait. Later on we recollected that our common 

interest in prints had brought us together on several 

occasions many years earlier. 

The present is one of the rare opportunities which a 
pubhsher interested in portraiture has of giving rein to 
his fancy. I certainly have never published a book which 
has afforded me greater interest in this direction. 

It has also confirmed a conviction which I have had 
for many years, that there should be a Royal Commission 
on historical portraits on the same Unes as the Royal 
Commission on historical manuscripts, for I have abundant 
proof of surprising ignorance on the part of many owners 
of portraits of distinguished Englishmen, who neither 


know the names of the subjects of the portraits they 
possess nor those of the artists who painted them. The 
head of one notable house sent me three portraits of 
successive ancestors, each bearing the same Christian 
name, but which was which and which was the man 
I wanted for my purpose I had to find out for 

I seldom wander round the picture gallery of a country 
house, however remote, without finding one or more 
unidentified portraits, and occasionally examples of what 
I believe to be paintings by English Primitives. 

From some points of view, this is the most interesting 
collection of portraits known to me ; its range of date, 
from the close of the fourteenth century to the present 
day, the historical and decorative importance of the 
subjects and the various forms of portraiture, all but 
unique, make it a veritable pageant of English History. 

Within these covers are gathered two portraits from 
church windows, eight memorial brasses, six monu- 
mental effigies ; and there is one noble example of the 
art of Torregiano in the beautiful medallion of Sir Thomas 
Lovell, now — thanks to the munificence of Sir Charles 
Robinson — preserved in Westminster Abbey. This is 
appropriately placed in Henry VII Chapel, guarding, as it 
were, the same artist's masterpiece, the recumbent figure 
of Margaret Beaufort, likewise in bronze. There is also a 
miniature, that of Paul Foley, reproduced by kind per- 
mission of Mr. Paul Henry Foley. There are forty-seven 
paintings, some of which are of rare interest ; and seven- 


teen fine prints, mostly after famous portraits, the 
originals of which in many instances cannot now be 

It has been a difficult matter to get together so many 
early portraits. One obstacle has been the fact that 
Mr. Dasent has added sixteen important characters to 
the Dictionary of National Biography : William Alington 
(1429), Wilham Alington (1472), Richard Baynard (1421), 
Henry Beaumont (1331-a), John Bowes (1435), Sir 
Robert Brooke (1554), Sir Thomas Charlton (1453-4), Sir 
John Cheyne (1399), John Dorewood (1399), Sir Thomas 
Englefield (1496-7), Sir Thomas Fitzwilliam (1488-9), 
John Green (1460), Sir John Guildesborough (1379-80), 
Peter de Montfort (1258), Henry Pelham (1647), and 
WiUiam Stourton (1413). It is comparatively easy to 
hunt up portraits when these are given in the D.N.B. ; 
but it is not always certain even then that the picture 
is available for reproduction. For instance, the D.N.B. 

states that a portrait of is in the possession 

of a peer whose ancestor was a Speaker in the eighteenth 
century, but although I have written three times to the 
noble possessor he has not vouchsafed a reply ; which 
recalls the famous story about this same ancestor — a 
well-known Counsel before he was elected to the Chair — 
who was notorious for his disagreeable, abrupt manner, 
and broad dialect. On one occasion, when pleading before 
the Court on some disputed question of manorial rights, 
he remarked to the presiding judge that he could speak 
from personal experience on the subject, "for I myself 


have two little manors." The judge bowed and said, 
" We all know that, Sir " 

The earliest Speaker of whom we have any kind of 
portrait is Sir Thomas Hungerford, who was also the 
first " Speaker for the Commons " mentioned on the 
Rolls, of whom I have reproduced as frontispiece a 
drawing by Mr. Stanley North from the portrait at present 
in the window of the church at Farleigh Hungerford, 
As Sir Walter Hungerford did not build the church until 
1443, forty-five years after the death of Sir Thomas, it may 
not be exactly contemporary, though experts agree in as- 
signing it a very early date. It is possible, too, that the 
window may have been removed from Farleigh Castle 
Chapel after the church was built. A drawing, also by 
Mr. North, of the freestone monumental effigy in Farleigh 
Castle has been included. I have, in addition, reproduced 
a drawing from an Album of the Speakers — which will be 
dealt with later — ^in the library of the National Portrait 
Gallery. This drawing is inscribed as being copied from 
a picture in the possession of Richard Pollen, Esq. It 
will be observed that all three portraits have a striking 
resemblance to each other. The nondescript costume 
of the picture is, of course, of a later date. 

The son of Sir Thomas Hungerford, Sir Walter, was also 
Speaker in 1414. His tomb is in Salisbury Cathedral, 
where there was a monument with his efi&gy in brass. I 
have reproduced the brassless figure in the hope that, 
if the brass should be in some private collection, the 
owner will see fit to restore it to its proper position. I 


will now consider the other seven portraits represented by 
memorial brasses, namely, Thomas Chaucer at Ewelme 
Church, Oxon ; Sir Arnold Savage at Bobbing Church, 
Kent ; and William Catesby at the Church of Ashby St. 
Ledgers, Northants. These three names impart a strange, 
opalescent character to one's vision, for apart from the 
Speakership they suggest pilgrimages, romance, poetry, 
prose, and even conspiracy. There are also brasses of Sir 
John Say, slightly restored, in Broxboume Church, Hert- 
fordshire ; Sir Thomas Nevill in the church at Mere- 
worth, Kent ; and Thomas Williams in Harford Church, 
Ivybridge, Devon. In this church there is also a fine 
brass in colours to the memory of the ancient family of 
Prideaux, one of whom was the mother of Thomas 
Williams. The epitaph on Thomas Williams is so quaint 
that it has been thought desirable to reproduce it : — 

^ttz Ip^tl) t^e corpgf of Clioin^ aj^illmsf eisquiw 
Wiake vmitt ^e in Court appountfO toa0 
Miioge gfacm mimt to bertu rtit} agfpire 
^t parlament lie fe)peaker ^eme nib pagdse 

Clie comcn p^ace l)e jstuliirt to pwiscrue 

^nD tteh rel^ffion ^uer to xtm^nte^ne 

31n place of 3|ug(t?ce toljere ae( lit tipti mm 

anti notoe in ^^atien to'S migiitie 31"^^ ^ft& KaiffM 

The brass of Roger Hunt, dated 1473, in Great Linford 
Church, Bucks, may possibly be that of the Speaker of 
1420 and 1433, but it is more probably that of his son. 

Of monumental effigies and tombs the following have 


been reproduced : Sir Thomas Hungerford ; Sir Richard 
Vernon in Tong Church, Salop ; Sir John Mordaunt in 
Turvey Church, Bedfordshire; Sir Robert Drury in 
St. Mary's Church, Bury St. Edmunds ; Sir John 
Puckering, in Westminster Abbey ; Thomas Snagge, at 
Marston Morteyne, Beds, which has been reproduced 
from a drawing kindly supplied by his descendant, Sir 
Thomas Snagge. 

In addition to the portrait of Sir Thomas Hungerford 
in the window of Farleigh Hungerford Church, it should 
be stated that the portrait of Sir Reginald Bray is from 
a window in the Priory Church at Malvern. Mr. Justice 
Bray possesses a drawing of it, from which our reproduc- 
tion has been made. Sir Reginald Bray died without 
issue, but he left the greater part of his estates, including 
the manors at Shere, to the eldest son of his younger 
brother John ; Edmund became Lord Bray, and he gave 
his estates at Shere to Sir Edward Bray, his next brother, 
from whom Mr. Justice Bray is descended, and to whom 
the manors at Shere still belong. Judge Edward Bray 
is also descended in the same line, being a brother of Mr. 
Justice Bray. 

It must be owned that the -piece de resistance of the 
collection is the wonderful picture at Belvoir, which the 
Duke of Rutland has most kindly allowed us to repro- 
duce, of Henry VII, with Empson and Dudley on either 
side of him. This extraordinary picture is on panel, 37J 
by 29I inches, but, unhappily, the master who painted 
it is unknown, though there can be but little doubt that 


it is the work of an English artist. It is, of course, the 
earliest and finest representation of the painter's art in 
our ValhaUa. 

In the National Portrait Gallery are the following 
paintings, all of which have been used excepting the one 
of Sir James Dyer : William Wyndham Grenville, 
Arthur Onslow, Sir John Popham, Sir Christopher Wray, 
Sir John Glanville, William Lenthall, Sir Harbottle 
Grimston, Bulstrode Whitelocke, and Robert Harley. In 
the case of Sir James Dyer a reproduction has been made 
from a painting in the possession of the Rev. Canon Mayo, 
of Long Burton. 

There is also, as mentioned above, a kind of Speakers' 
Album in the Reference Library of the National Portrait 
Gallery, which contains forty-five clever water-colour 
drawings copied by an early nineteenth-century anony- 
mous artist, probably S. P. Harding or Sylvester Harding, 
most likely the former, who did much work of this kind. 
We have, however, only used the following from this in- 
teresting collection : Sir Thomas Hungerford, Sir John 
Baker, from an original picture in the possession of 
William Baker, Esq., of Norwich ; Sir Robert Brooke ; Sir 
Clement Heigham, from a picture in the possession of 
John Higham, of Bedford ; Sir John Croke ; Sir Thomas 
Richardson ; Sir Edward Seymour ; John Smith ; and 
Sir Thomas Widdrington. This last-named Speaker was 
buried in the Church of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, where 
there was an imposing monument to his memory ; but 
this was broken up and, curiously enough, it is believed 


to have been buried in the course of some church restoration, 
as was undoubtedly done in the case of a ponderous 
memorial of the Bellasis family in the same church 
which had fallen into disrepair. 

I must not omit to enumerate the names of the other 
Speakers whose portraits figure in the Album referred 
to above, for in some cases the names of the contem- 
poraneous owners of the original pictures from which the 
water-colour drawings were made are given : Sir Thomas 
More ; Sir Thomas Audley ; Sir Richard Rich, from a 
drawing after Hans Holbein, in the possession of Mr. 
Simco ; Sir James Dyer ; Richard Onslow ; Sir Chris- 
topher Wray ; Sir Robert Bell, from a miniature in the 
possession of J. Bell, Esq. ; Sir Edward Coke ; Sir Edward 
Phelips ; Sir Randolph Crewe ; Sir Thomas Crewe ; Sir 
Heneage Finch, from an original picture at the Guild- 
hall ; Sir John Finch, from a picture at the Speaker's 
house (a similar portrait by Van Dyck is at Raby 
Castle) ; Francis Rous, from an original picture at 
Pembroke College, Oxford ; Sir Harbottle Grimston ; Sir 
Edward Turnour ; Sir Robert Sawyer, from an original 
picture at Barbers Hall ; Sir William Gregory, from an 
original picture in the possession of Mr. Gregory ; Henry 
Powle ; Paul Foley, from an original picture at Coldham ; 
Robert Harley ; Sir Richard Onslow ; Sir Thomas Hanmer ; 
Sir Spencer Compton ; Arthur Onslow ; Sir John Cust ; 
Sir Fletcher Norton ; Charles Wolfran Cornwall ; William 
Wyndham Grenville ; Henry Addington ; Sir John 
Mitford; Charles Abbot, from an original picture at 


Christ Church College, Oxford; and Charles Manners- 

We are indebted to the Earl of Yarborough for per- 
mission to reproduce his portrait of Henry Pelham ; 
to the Earl of Leicester for the portrait of Sir Edward 
Coke ; to Lord Barnard for that of Sir John Finch ; to 
MajorWingfield for the picture of Sir Humphrey Wingfield ; 
to Mr. George Gery Milner-Gibson CuUum for that of 
Sir Thomas Gargrave ; to Mr. William Robert Phelips, 
of Montacute, for the fine portrait of Sir Edward Phelips ; 
to Mr. Charles Chute for the portrait of Chaloner Chute 
at the Vyne ; to Lord Grantley for that of Sir Fletcher 
Norton ; to the President of St. John's College, Oxford, 
for the distinguished portrait of Sir William Cordell, 
who was executor to the Will of Sir Thomas White, 
the founder of the college ; and to Mr. Bernard Kettle, 
of the Guildhall Library, for the very interesting por- 
trait of Sir Heneage Finch, by John Michael Wright. 
Finch was also one of the " Fire " Judges whom Lely 
fortunately declined to paint. The Corporation then 
commissioned Wright, a native of Scotland, to paint 
a number at ^36 each. This artist's work is not 
sufficiently appreciated. He is the only man, we can 
recollect, who was endowed with two Christian names 
in the seventeenth century, but perhaps he felt over- 
weighted by the fact, for he frequently signed himself 
" Michael Ritus." 

The following have been reproduced from rare en- 
gravings, a few^ from my own collection, but chiefly from 


those loaned to me by that most intelligent and obliging of 
dealers, Mr. Bruen, of Greek Street : Sir Robert Sheffield ; 
Sir Richard Rich ; Sir Robert Bell ; Sir Christopher 
Yelverton ; Francis Rous ; Henry Powle ; Sir Thomas 
Littleton ; WiUiam Bromley ; Sir Thomas Hanmer ; Sir 
Spencer Compton ; Henry Addington ; Charles Abbot ; 
Charles Manners-Sutton ; James Abercromby ; Charles 
Shaw - Lefevre ; John Eveljm Denison ; and Henry 
Bouverie Brand. This last was kindly lent by the 
Serjeant-at-Arms, Mr. H. D. Erskine, of Cardross. 

I have reserved till the last the important collection 
of portraits which adorns the Speaker's official resi- 
dence. These Mr. Lowther with great kindness placed 
at our entire disposal. The collection is of varied interest 
and the pictures are of different sizes ; some are un- 
questionably copies. We have reproduced the following : 
Sir Thomas Audley ; Sir Job Charlton ; Charles Wolfran 
Cornwall, by Gainsborough ; Sir Randolph Crewe ; Sir 
Thomas Crewe ; Sir John Cust ; Sir William Gregory ; 
Sir John Mitford ; Sir Thomas More ; Richard Onslow ; 
Sir Richard Onslow ; Sir John Trevor ; Sir Edward 
Turnour ; and Sir William Williams. 

There is also a portrait of the last-named, by KneUer, 
in the Members' Dining-room of the House, where a 
collection of paintings of English statesmen is in process 
of formation. 

In addition to the above, the collection contains the 
following, which have not been used for the reasons that 
some were fixtures, and in a position where it was im- 


possible to obtain satisfactory results for reproduction, 
whilst others, it will be seen, have been reproduced from 
other sources : Charles Abbot, by Lawrence ; James 
Abercromby ; Henry Addington, by Phillips ; Henry 
Brand, by Frank Holl; William Bromley; Sir Edward 
Coke ; Sir Spencer Compton, by Lely ; John Evelyn 
Denison, by Sir F. Grant ; Sir John Finch ; Sir John 
Glanville ; WiQiam Wyndham GrenviUe ; Sir Harbottle 
Grimston ; William Court Gully, by Sir George Reid ; 
Sir Thomas Hanmer ; Robert Harley ; Charles Shaw- 
Lefevre, by Sir Martin Archer Shee ; William Lenthall, 
by Van Dyck or his pupil, Henry Peart ; Arthur 
Onslow; Arthur Wellesley Peel, by Orchardson; Sir 
Edward Phelips ; Francis Rous ; Sir Edward Seymour ; 
John Smith ; Charles Manners-Sutton ; and Sir Christopher 

Since the time of Mr. Speaker Addington it has become 
a rule that each Speaker's portrait should be added to the 
collection on his retirement. It is a national loss that 
this rule has not been longer in operation. The most 
effectual manner to gauge that loss is to compare this 
collection with that great historical collection across the 
river at Lambeth. I shall always remember being shown 
after lunch one day, by Archbishop Benson, the portraits 
in Lambeth Palace. The Archbishop told me that Lam- 
beth was the only official residence known to him where 
could be found the portraits of all the successive occupiers, 
at any rate for any considerable length of time. During 
our tour through the various rooms I well remember the 


Archbishop stopping in front of the portrait of Laud, and 
impressively informing me that this identical portrait 
fell with a terrible crash from its position a few days 
before Laud was beheaded, and that the incident caused 
the gravest apprehension, for it was held by Laud's 
friends to be a bad omen. As we passed from this gallery 
into another room I was shown a large engraving (some 
sixteen feet long) of Rome, before which the Archbishop 
stood, and told me that some time previously he had had 
an old Oxford friend to lunch with him there, Father 
Edward Purbrick, the head of the Jesuit College, to 
whom he repeated the Laud story. As they passed out 
of the room into the corridor they heard a tremendous 
thud on the floor, and on re-entering the room the huge 
engraving of Rome had fallen to the ground. The Jesuit 
Father stood by, placing his hand over it, and cried out, 
" Oh, that I should live to see the fall of my beloved 
Rome ! " and straightway left the Palace. I hope I may 
be pardoned for dragging in this story, but I do not 
remember having seen it in print. It was certainly not 
in the Life, and it occurs to me that it may not be in- 
appropriate to record it here. 

In addition to the eighty-one portraits of Speakers 
it has been decided to add three other portraits, not 
of Speakers, to the series. But perhaps no apology 
is here necessary. The first is that of John, Earl of 
Worcester, and the son of the redoubtable Speaker of the 
same name. The magnificent portrait of this wonderful 
face is from the cenotaph in Ely Cathedral. He was a great 


patron of learning and art. Indeed, Caxton says of him : 
" he floured in vertue and cunnyng ; to whom he knew 
none lyke, among the lordes of the temporaHtie in science 
and moral vertue," and Ftdler exclaims of his beheadal, 
" The axe did at one blow cut off more learning than 
was left in the heads of the surviving nobility." The 
Dukes of Rutland are descended from the Tiptofts. 

The next character is that of John Rushworth, Clerk- 
Assistant of the House of Commons, who on that memo- 
rable day, January 3rd, 1641-2, embalmed for all time 
the kingly speech, and the never-to-be-forgotten, if 
equivocal, and certainly epigrammatic reply of Speaker 

The third portrait is that of Jeremiah Dyson, after 
Sir Joshua Reynolds, the original picture being now 
in the possession of his great-granddaughter, Mrs. 
Myddleton, of Chirk Castle. Dyson was Clerk and after- 
wards a member of the House. 

In the course of my researches I have discovered 
the whereabouts of several portraits and monumental 
effigies of Speakers, which have not been used in this 
work for various reasons. As some of these may be 
useful to students, it is proposed to place them on record. 

In Westminster Abbey there is the fine bronze bust 
of Sir Thomas Richardson, by Le Sueur, whose 
equestrian statue of Charles I still stands at Charing 
Cross. There is a painting of Sir Thomas Audley, by 
Holbein, in the possession of Lord Braybrooke, and Lord 
Onslow has portraits of his three Speaker ancestors in 


the Speaker's Parlour at Clandon. He has also the well- 
known picture of Sir Robert Walpole as Prime Minister, 
with Arthur Onslow in the chair. This is partly painted 
by Hogarth, and partly by his father-in-law. Sir James 
Thornhill, who was a member of Parliament, and painted 
the faces. Lord Redesdale possesses a fine portrait of 
Sir John Mitford by Sir Thomas Lawrence. At Barrow 
Church, Bury St. Edmunds, there is the effigy of Sir 
Clement Heigham. In Felstead Church, Essex, there is a 
monumental effigy of Lord Rich ; in Claverley Church, 
near Wolverhampton, one of Sir Robert Brooke ; and at 
Checkenden, Bucks, where Sir Walter Beauchamp was 
buried, there is an allegorical brass, his coat of arms, 
and the following inscription : " Hie jacet Walterus 
Beauchamp filius Willi : Beauchamp Militis cujus aie 
ppiciet : Deus Amen." A monument was also erected 
in St. Chad's Church, Shrewsbury, to Richard Onslow, 
the Speaker of 1566. In Eastwell Church, Kent, where 
Sir Thomas Moyle is buried, there is an altar tonlb with 
his coat of arms, and apparently it was intended to place 
an effigy upon it, but none exists. There is also in the 
same church a bust and mural tablet of Sir Heneage 
Finch, who was a grandson of Sir Thomas Moyle, and 
at Coverham Church, Yorkshire, where Sir Geoffrey le 
Scrope's body was taken after his death at Ghent, there 
is a coloured window with the arms of the Scropes. 
At Wellington Church, Somerset, is a monumental effigy 
of Sir John Popham. Mr. Harold St. Maur, m.p., is 
the possessor of a painting of Sir Edward Seymour, 


and there is a fine monumental ef&gy of him at 
Maiden Bradley. Lord Crewe also possesses paintings 
of Sir Randolph Crewe and Sir Thomas Crewe, and the 
Right Hon. James Round has an oil painting of Sir 
Harbottle Grimston at Birch Hall, Colchester. At Oxford 
there are portraits of Sir Thomas More (in the Bodleian), 
of Francis Rous, at Pembroke (the portrait engraved by 
Faithome, 1656), of Arthur Onslow at Wadham, by 
Hysing (engraved by Faber in 1728), three of William 
Wyndham Grenville, one at Oriel, by Owen, another at 
Christ Church also by Owen, and a third in the Bodleian, 
by Phillips. At Christ Church there is a portrait of 
Charles Abbot, by Northcote (engraved by Picart, 
1804), also one of William Bromley, by Dahl, at the 

The reproduction of the Broadside or List of Members, 
in the possession of Sir Walter Spencer Stanhope, Bart., 
is one of the earliest if not the earUest known representa- 
tion of the House in session. It is dated March 17th, 
1627-28, with Sir John Finch in the chair. It is greatly 
to be regretted that no earlier authentic illustration of 
a sitting of " The Mother of Parliaments " is available, 
for such must surely exist — either from early wood- 
blocks or from still earlier miniatures. It is hoped, 
however, that this Note may prove to be the means of 
bringing others to light. 

Mr. Dasent has placed on record some hundred and 
thirty Speakers, and there are doubtless others whose 
names, when verified, will some day be added to the 


list, when the State Papers shall have been exhaust- 
ively examined and carefully calendared, possibly by 

When we reflect on our rough island story as portrayed 
by Mr. Dasent from the Parliamentary or Speakers' 
point of view for the past six and a half centuries, we 
discover that, in addition to the beheading of Lord Wor- 
cester, no less than nine Speakers have lost their lives 
for performing what they considered to be their public 
duty, and in most cases their estates were sequestrated 
and their wealth confiscated. Thus life and property 
were less secure than in these democratic days. For 
the Speaker of our time is known as " the first 
Commoner in England," with a salary of £5000 per 
annum, a palatial residence, picturesque privileges, 
and a retiring pension of £4000. Surely this ought 
to be some consolation, even to the most Conservative 
minds. The names of the Speakers who suffered death 
were : Sir John Bussy, Thomas Thorpe, William Tresham, 
Sir John Wenlock, Sir Thomas Tresham, Wilham Catesby, 
Sir Richard Empson, Edmond Dudley, and Sir Thomas 

Unfortunately I have not been able to discover any 
portraits of the following Speakers, though it is almost 
certain that many of these exist in the shape of paintings, 
miniatures, stained-glass windows, memorial brasses, and 
monumental effigies. 

William Alington (1429), William Alington (1472), 
Thomas Bampfylde (1659), Sir Walter Beauchamp 


(1416), Sir John Bussy (1393-8), Henry Beaumont 
(1331-2), William Burley (1437), John Bowes (1435), 
Richard Baynard (1421), Sir Thomas Charlton (1453-4), 
Sir John Che5Tie (1399), John Dorewood (1399), Sir 
Thomas Englefield (1496-7), Sir Thomas Fitzwilliam 
(1488-9), Roger Flower (1416), Sir John Guildesborough 
(1379-80), Henry Green (1362-3), John Green (1460), 
Sir Nicholas Hare (1539), Sir Lislebone Long (1659), 
Sir Peter de la Mare (1377), Peter de Montfort (1258), 
Sir Thomas Moyle (1542), Sir William Oldhall (1450), 
Sir James Pickering (1378), Sir John Pollard (1553), 
Sir John Popham (1449), Sir Henry Redford (1402), 
Richard Redman (1415), Sir John Russell (1423), William 
Say (1659-60), Sir Geoffrey le Scrope (1332), William 
de ShareshuU (1350-1), Wilham Stourton (1413), Sir 
James Strangeways (1461), Sir William Sturmy (1404), 
Thomas Thorpe (1452-3), Wilham de Thorpe (1347), 
Sir John Tiptoft (1405-6), WiUiam Tresham (1439), Sir 
Thomas Tresham (1459), William Trussell (1326-7), 
Sir John Tyrrell (1427), Sir Richard Waldegrave (1381), 
Sir Thomas Walton or Wauton (1425), Sir John Wenlock 
(1455), John Wood (1482-3). 

After the names of the Speakers I have added the 
year of election to the Chair, so as to make it easier to 
identify the various holders of the office, and I hope that 
correspondents will continue to help me towards the com- 
pletion of the Ust. 

In response to a letter recently published by the editors 
of The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Standard, The 


Aihenaum, and Notes and Queries, asking for information 
on the subject of Speaker Portraits, I was fortunate 
enough to obtain valuable information from the readers 
of each paper. It would be extremely useful too if 
readers would help to locate other portraits than those 
already reproduced or recorded in this work, espe- 
cially of Speakers down to the end of the eighteenth 

The topographical illustrations require little notice 
here, as they are, for the most part, fully explained in 
the text. The views of the interior of the Jewel Tower 
are from photographs kindly supplied by Sir Benjamin 
Stone. Hollar's view of New Palace Yard has not often 
been reproduced in so perfect a state. The one herein 
inserted is taken from the late Sir Francis Seymour 
Haden's own copy, now in Mr. Dasent's possession. 

The view of the House of Commons in session is 
interesting from the idea it gives of St. Stephen's Chapel 
in the reign of Charles I. It will be noticed that there are 
two Clerks at the table, thus disproving the usually 
accepted belief that Rushworth was the first Clerk-Assis- 
tant. Speaker Onslow said, on the authority of Hatsell, 
that he had seen a print of the House in 1620 in which 
two Clerks were shown sitting at the table ; if his state- 
ment is correct, this is probably a re-issue of the same 

The illustration of the Jewel Tower is from a drawing 
specially made by Mr. L. Hussell Conway. The map of 
Westminster in 1740, which Mr. Dasent discovered in the 


British Museum, is valuable as showing streets projected 
as well as actually completed. Parliament Street was 
not built until many years later, nor did Abingdon Street 
come into existence before 1750. 

The caricatures of Gillray and H. B. explain them- 
selves, and the views of Montacute, Burford, and Stoke 
Edith are from photographs supphed by the present 

The illustration of the Mace is from a photograph 
kindly lent by the Serjeant-at-Arms (Mr. H. D. Erskine). 
The Mace dates from the Restoration. Although there 
is no decipherable mark upon it, in all probabiHty it 
originally bore both date and hall-mark. The wear and 
tear have, however, been so great that these may have 
been obhterated, for the Mace has lost in weight, since it 
left the silversmith's, no less than 23 ounces. Originally 
it weighed 251 ounces, now it scales only 228 ounces. 

Arthur Onslow's house in Soho Square is an especially 
interesting London view, as it stands on the site of Old 
Falconbergh House, once the residence of Cromwell's 
daughter. The author regrets that an illustration of 
the house in which Coke was born, still standing at 
Mileham, near Swaffham, has not been included, but the 
information only reached him at the last moment when 
the book was in the hands of the binders. If it should 
be so fortunate as to reach a second edition the omission 
shall be repaired. 

It now only remains for me to express my thanks 
to : Earl Beauchamp, Earl and Countess Cairns, The Earl 


of Crewe, The Earl of Iddesleigh, The Earl of Onslow, The 
Earl of Radnor, Earl Waldegrave, Viscount Peel, Vis- 
count Powerscourt, Lord Barnard, Lord Hylton, Lord 
Redesdale, Lady Poltimore, Lady Victoria Manners, Mrs. 
Stanley Lane Poole, The Rev. Charles H. Coe, The Rev. 
H. H. B. Ayles, d.d.. The Rev. C. T. Eland, The Rev. 
J. A. HaUoran, The Rev. C. W. Holland, The Rev. E. 
Hutton-Hall, The Rev. John T. Steele, The Rev. C. B. 
Hulton, The Rev. R. Wall, The Serjeant-at-Arms, Mr. 
C. J. Holmes and Mr. J. D. Milner, of the National 
Portrait Gallery, Mr. R. P. Chope, Mr. J. G. Earle, f.s.a., 
Mr. Henry Greensted, Mr. A. L. Humphreys, Mr. Geo. 
Robinson, Mr. J. Horace Round, ll.d., Mr. J. L. Rutley, 
Mr. Henry Yates Thompson, for much valuable aid, and 
to Mr. Dasent himself for his kindness in permitting me 
to append this note to his exhaustive researches. 

The Bodlet Head. 






NOTWITHSTANDING the inevitable ten- 
dency of the age to disparage the past, the 
opinion is still widely held that the House of 
Commons is amongst the greatest of human 
institutions. The primary object of the following pages 
has been to present a fuller and more accurate account 
than has previously been attempted of the presiding 
officers of this great instrument of popular liberty. 
At the same time it has been the author's aim to de- 
scribe how the Lower House of Parliament came into 
existence ; the place where it first held its deliberations 
(with a topographical and architectural description of 
Westminster at various epochs) ; the circumstances under 
which Parliament assembled, with a brief retrospect of 


Archbishop stopping in front of the portrait of Laud, and 
impressively informing me that this identical portrait 
fell with a terrible crash from its position a few days 
before Laud was beheaded, and that the incident caused 
the gravest apprehension, for it was held by Laud's 
friends to be a bad omen. As we passed from this gallery 
into another room I was shown a large engraving (some 
sixteen feet long) of Rome, before which the Archbishop 
stood, and told me that some time previously he had had 
an old Oxford friend to lunch with him there, Father 
Edward Purbrick, the head of the Jesuit College, to 
whom he repeated the Laud story. As they passed out 
of the room into the corridor they heard a tremendous 
thud on the floor, and on re-entering the room the huge 
engraving of Rome had fallen to the ground. The Jesuit 
Father stood by, placing his hand over it, and cried out, 
" Oh, that I should live to see the fall of my beloved 
Rome ! " and straightway left the Palace. I hope I may 
be pardoned for dragging in this story, but I do not 
remember having seen it in print. It was certainly not 
in the Life, and it occurs to me that it may not be in- 
appropriate to record it here. 

In addition to the eighty -one portraits of Speakers 
it has been decided to add three other portraits, not 
of Speakers, to the series. But perhaps no apology 
is here necessary. The first is that of John, Earl of 
Worcester, and the son of the redoubtable Speaker of the 
same name. The magnificent portrait of this wonderful 
face is from the cenotaph in Ely Cathedral. He was a great 


patron of learning and art. Indeed, Caxton says of him : 
" he floured in vertue and cunnyng ; to whom he knew 
none lyke, among the lordes of the temporaJitie in science 
and moral vertue," and Ftdler exclaims of his beheadal, 
" The axe did at one blow cut off more learning than 
was left in the heads of the surviving nobility." The 
Dukes of Rutland are descended from the Tiptofts. 

The next character is that of John Rushworth, Clerk- 
Assistant of the House of Commons, who on that memo- 
rable day, January 3rd, 1641-2, embalmed for all time 
the kingly speech, and the never-to-be-forgotten, if 
equivocal, and certainly epigrammatic reply of Speaker 

The third portrait is that of Jeremiah Dyson, after 
Sir Joshua Reynolds, the original picture being now 
in the possession of his great-granddaughter, Mrs. 
Myddleton, of Chirk Castle. Dyson was Clerk and after- 
wards a member of the House. 

In the course of my researches I have discovered 
the whereabouts of several portraits and monumental 
effigies of Speakers, which have not been used in this 
work for various reasons. As some of these may be 
useful to students, it is proposed to place them on record. 

In Westminster Abbey there is the fine bronze bust 
of Sir Thomas Richardson, by Le Sueur, whose 
equestrian statue of Charles I still stands at Charing 
Cross. There is a painting of Sir Thomas Audley, by 
Holbein, in the possession of Lord Braybrooke, and Lord 
Onslow has portraits of his three Speaker ancestors in 


the Speaker's Parlour at Clandon. He has also the well- 
known picture of Sir Robert Walpole as Prime Minister, 
with Arthur Onslow in the chair. This is partly painted 
by Hogarth, and partly by his father-in-law. Sir James 
Thomhill, who was a member of Parliament, and painted 
the faces. Lord Redesdale possesses a fine portrait of 
Sir John Mitford by Sir Thomas Lawrence. At Barrow 
Church, Bury St. Edmunds, there is the effigy of Sir 
Clement Heigham. In Felstead Church, Essex, there is a 
monumental ef&gy of Lord Rich ; in Claverley Church, 
near Wolverhampton, one of Sir Robert Brooke ; and at 
Checkenden, Bucks, where Sir Walter Beauchamp was 
buried, there is an allegorical brass, his coat of arms, 
and the following inscription : " Hie jacet Walterus 
Beauchamp filius Willi : Beauchamp Militis cujus aie 
ppiciet : Deus Amen." A monument was also erected 
in St. Chad's Church, Shrewsbury, to Richard Onslow, 
the Speaker of 1566. In Eastwell Church, Kent, where 
Sir Thomas Moyle is buried, there is an altar tomb with 
his coat of arms, and apparently it was intended to place 
an ef&gy upon it, but none exists. There is also in the 
same church a bust and mural tablet of Sir Heneage 
Finch, who was a grandson of Sir Thomas Moyle, and 
at Coverham Church, Yorkshire, where Sir Geoffrey le 
Scrope's body was taken after his death at Ghent, there 
is a coloured window with the arms of the Scropes. 
At Wellington Church, Somerset, is a monumental effigy 
of Sir John Popham. Mr. Harold St. Maur, m.p., is 
the possessor of a painting of Sir Edward Seymour, 


and there is a fine monumental effigy of him at 
Maiden Bradley. Lord Crewe also possesses paintings 
of Sir Randolph Crewe and Sir Thomas Crewe, and the 
Right Hon. James Round has an oil painting of Sir 
Harbottle Grimston at Birch Hall, Colchester. At Oxford 
there are portraits of Sir Thomas More (in the Bodleian), 
of Francis Rous, at Pembroke (the portrait engraved by 
Faithome, 1656), of Arthur Onslow at Wadham, by 
Hysing (engraved by Faber in 1728), three of Wilham 
Wjmdham Grenville, one at Oriel, by Owen, another at 
Christ Church also by Owen, and a third in the Bodleian, 
by PhiUips. At Christ Church there is a portrait of 
Charles Abbot, by Northcote (engraved by Picart, 
1804), also one of William Bromley, by Dahl, at the 

The reproduction of the Broadside or List of Members, 
in the possession of Sir Walter Spencer Stanhope, Bart., 
is one of the earliest if not the earhest known representa- 
tion of the House in session. It is dated March 17th, 
1627-28, with Sir John Finch in the chair. It is greatly 
to be regretted that no earlier authentic illustration of 
a sitting of " The Mother of Parliaments " is available, 
for such must surely exist — either from early wood- 
blocks or from still earlier miniatures. It is hoped, 
however, that this Note may prove to be the means of 
bringing others to light. 

Mr. Dasent has placed on record some hundred and 
thirty Speakers, and there are doubtless others whose 
names, when verified, will some day be added to the 


list, when the State Papers shall have been exhaust- 
ively examined and carefully calendared, possibly by 

When we reflect on our rough island story as portrayed 
by Mr. Dasent from the Parhamentary or Speakers' 
point of view for the past six and a half centuries, we 
discover that, in addition to the beheading of Lord Wor- 
cester, no less than nine Speakers have lost their lives 
for performing what they considered to be their public 
duty, and in most cases their estates were sequestrated 
and their wealth confiscated. Thus Hfe and property 
were less secure than in these democratic days. For 
the Speaker of our time is known as " the first 
Commoner in England," with a salary of £5000 per 
annum, a palatial residence, picturesque privileges, 
and a retiring pension of £4000. Surely this ought 
to be some consolation, even to the most Conservative 
minds. The names of the Speakers who suffered death 
were : Sir John Bussy, Thomas Thorpe, William Tresham, 
Sir John Wenlock, Sir Thomas Tresham, William Catesby, 
Sir Richard Empson, Edmond Dudley, and Sir Thomas 

Unfortunately I have not been able to discover any 
portraits of the following Speakers, though it is almost 
certain that many of these exist in the shape of paintings, 
miniatures, stained-glass windows, memorial brasses, and 
monumental effigies. 

WiUiam Alington (1429), WUliam Alington (1472), 
Thomas Bampfylde (1659), Sir Walter Beauchamp 


(1416), Sir John Bussy (1393-8), Henry Beaumont 
(1331-2), William Burley (1437), John Bowes (1435), 
Richard Baynard (1421), Sir Thomas Charlton (1453-4), 
Sir John Cheyne (1399), John Dorewood (1399), Sir 
Thomas Englefield (1496-7), Sir Thomas Fitzwilliam 
(1488-9), Roger Flower (1416), Sir John Guildesborough 
(1379-80), Henry Green (1362-3), John Green (1460), 
Sir Nicholas Hare (1539), Sir Lislebone Long (1659), 
Sir Peter de la Mare (1377), Peter de Montfort (1258), 
Sir Thomas Moyle (1542), Sir William Oldhall (1450), 
Sir James Pickering (1378), Sir John Pollard (1553), 
Sir John Popham (1449), Sir Henry Redford (1402), 
Richard Redman (1415), Sir John Russell (1423), William 
Say (1659-60), Sir Geoffrey le Scrope (1332), Wilham 
de ShareshuU (1350-1), Wilham Stourton (1413), Sir 
James Strangeways (1461), Sir William Sturmy (1404), 
Thomas Thorpe (1452-3), William de Thorpe (1347), 
Sir John Tiptoft (1405-6), William Tresham (1439), Sir 
Thomas Tresham (1459), William Trussell (1326-7), 
Sir John Tyrrell (1427), Sir Richard Waldegrave (1381), 
Sir Thomas Walton or Wauton (1425), Sir John Wenlock 
(1455), John Wood (1482-3). 

After the names of the Speakers I have added the 
year of election to the Chair, so as to make it easier to 
identify the various holders of the office, and I hope that 
correspondents will continue to help me towards the com- 
pletion of the list. 

In response to a letter recently published by the editors 
of The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Standard, The 


Ath&nceum, and Notes and. Queries, asking for information 
on the subject of Speaker Portraits, I was fortunate 
enough to obtain valuable information from the readers 
of each paper. It would be extremely useful too if 
readers would help to locate other portraits than those 
already reproduced or recorded in this work, espe- 
cially of Speakers down to the end of the eighteenth 

The topographical illustrations require little notice 
here, as they are, for the most part, fully explained in 
the text. The views of the interior of the Jewel Tower 
are from photographs kindly supplied by Sir Benjamin 
Stone. Hollar's view of New Palace Yard has not often 
been reproduced in so perfect a state. The one herein 
inserted is taken from the late Sir Francis Seymour 
Haden's own copy, now in Mr. Dasent's possession. 

The view of the House of Commons in session is 
interesting from the idea it gives of St. Stephen's Chapel 
in the reign of Charles I. It will be noticed that there are 
two Clerks at the table, thus disproving the usually 
accepted belief that Rushworth was the first Clerk- Assis- 
tant. Speaker Onslow said, on the authority of Hatsell, 
that he had seen a print of the House in 1620 in which 
two Clerks were shown sitting at the table ; if his state- 
ment is correct, this is probably a re-issue of the same 

The illustration of the Jewel Tower is from a drawing 
specially made by Mr. L. Hussell Conway. The map of 
Westminster in 1740, which Mr. Dasent discovered in the 


British Museum, is valuable as showing streets projected 
as well as actually completed. Parliament Street was 
not built until many years later, nor did Abingdon Street 
come into existence before 1750. 

The caricatures of Gillray and H. B. explain them- 
selves, and the views of Montacute, Burford, and Stoke 
Edith are from photographs suppUed by the present 

The illustration of the Mace is from a photograph 
kindly lent by the Serjeant-at-Arms (Mr. H. D. Erskine). 
The Mace dates from the Restoration. Although there 
is no decipherable mark upon it, in all probability it 
originally bore both date and hall-mark. The wear and 
tear have, however, been so great that these may have 
been obliterated, for the Mace has lost in weight, since it 
left the silversmith's, no less than 23 ounces. Originally 
it weighed 251 ounces, now it scales only 228 ounces. 

Arthur Onslow's house in Soho Square is an especially 
interesting London view, as it stands on the site of Old 
Falconbergh House, once the residence of Cromwell's 
daughter. The author regrets that an illustration of 
the house in which Coke was bom, still standing at 
Mileham, near Swaffham, has not been included, but the 
information only reached him at the last moment when 
the book was in the hands of the binders. If it should 
be so fortunate as to reach a second edition the omission 
shall be repaired. 

It now only remains for me to express my thanks 
to : Earl Beauchamp, Earl and Countess Cairns, The Earl 


of Crewe, The Earl of Iddesleigh, The Earl of Onslow, The 
Earl of Radnor, Earl Waldegrave, Viscount Peel, Vis- 
count Powerscourt, Lord Barnard, Lord Hylton, Lord 
Redesdale, Lady Poltimore, Lady Victoria Manners, Mrs. 
Stanley Lane Poole, The Rev. Charles H. Coe, The Rev. 
H. H. B. Ayles, d.d., The Rev. C. T. Eland. The Rev. 
J. A. Halloran, The Rev. C. W. Holland, The Rev. E. 
Hutton-Hall, The Rev. John T. Steele, The Rev. C. B. 
Hulton, The Rev. R. Wall, The Serjeant-at-Arms, Mr. 
C. J. Holmes and Mr. J. D. Milner, of the National 
Portrait Gallery, Mr. R. P. Chope, Mr. J. G. Earle, f.s.a., 
Mr. Henry Greensted, Mr. A. L. Humphreys, Mr. Geo. 
Robinson, Mr. J. Horace Round, ll.d., Mr. J. L. Rutley, 
Mr. Henry Yates Thompson, for much valuable aid, and 
to Mr. Dasent himself for his kindness in permitting me 
to append this note to his exhaustive researches. 

The Bodlby Head. 






NOTWITHSTANDING the inevitable ten- 
dency of the age to disparage the past, the 
opinion is still widely held that the House of 
Commons is amongst the greatest of human 
institutions. The primary object of the following pages 
has been to present a fuller and more accurate account 
than has previously been attempted of the presiding 
officers of this great instrument of popular liberty. 
At the same time it has been the author's aim to de- 
scribe how the Lower House of Parliament came into 
existence ; the place where it first held its deliberations 
(with a topographical and architectural description of 
Westminster at various epochs) ; the circumstances under 
which Parliament assembled, with a brief retrospect of 


its principal legislative and administrative achievements. 
An attempt has also been made to trace throughout the 
history of the House of Commons the close connection 
which formerly existed between the Abbey and the seat 
of government. These points are severally of importance 
not only to the student of constitutional history, but to 
all who value the conditions under which modem England 
is governed. 

The cities of Oxford and Lincoln are entitled to take 
precedence of London as the places in the kingdom 
selected for the holding of the earliest known Parlia- 
ments; but to Westminster tmdoubtedly belongs the 
distinction of having witnessed the dawn of the English 
Constitution. King John frequently visited Oxford, and 
in 1204 he held a colloquium there for the purpose of 
procuring a grant in aid. In November, 1213, writs were 
addressed to the Sheriffs requiring them to send all 
knights in arms in their bailiwicks, and four knights from 
each county, " ad loquendum nobiscum de negotiis regni 
nostri " ; and two years later the same king again came 
to Oxford in the vain hope that his nobles would meet 
him there. 

Lincoln was the city chosen by Henry III in 1226, 
whilst he was still a minor, as the rendezvous of four 
knights elected by the milites et probi homines of the 
bailiwicks of eight specified counties, in order to settle 
long-standing disputes with the Sheriffs as to certain 
articles of their Charter of Liberty. But of the proceed- 
ings of these embryo Parliaments no record has been 

No returns to these tentative and restricted assemblies 
have been discovered, and the earliest germ of popular 


representation is to be found in connection with the Isle 
of Thorns. The history of that traditionally sacred spot, 
revered by Edward the Confessor above all other parts 
of his dominions, is inextricably associated with the 
second founder of the Abbey. 

Bom at Winchester, Henry III was the first of the 
Plantagenet line to identify himself with Westminster. 
Distrusting the city of London, he felt himself secure 
within the sheltering walls of the great Benedictine 
Abbey, the re-edifying and beautifying of which was 
to be the darling project of his later years. Between 
1245 and his death in the place of his adoption Henry 
is believed to have spent more than half a million 
of money on the rebuilding of the Confessor's church, 
and, according to the somewhat exaggerated view of the 
late Dean Stanley, his enormous exactions have left 
their lasting trace on the English Constitution in no 
less a monument than the House of Commons, which 
rose into existence as a protest against the lavish 
expenditure dn the mighty Abbey which it con- 

As if to point the moral, the only contemporary 
memorial of Simon de Montfort is to be seen to this day, 
carved with the arms of other benefactors, upon the 
Abbey walls.* The tendency of modem historical re- 
search has been rather to deprive De Montfort of his 

* Stanley's Historical Memorials of Westminster Abbey, 1896 edition, 
p. 1 10. At the same time a large amount of money was raised by sub- 
scriptions which entitled the donors to indulgence in purgatory, and 
much of the money spent in the rebuilding of the church was derived 
from the King's private income. 

'■' Simon de Montfort's shield, a double-tailed lion, is reproduced 
on the outer cover of this volume. 


claim to be the originator of the representative system,^ 
but there can be no manner of doubt that, in the closing 
years of his strenuous Parliamentary life, his efforts in 
the cause of popular government caused his name to be 
regarded as a talisman among the English people. 

Henry IH was the first of the English kings who could 
properly be called a great patron of the arts. Though, 
in his remodelling of the Abbey, his conception of archi- 
tectural effect was derived from foreign sources, yet it 
is to his encouragement of native art that London 
and the nation owe that triumph of the Early English 
style (happily little altered internally since the thirteenth 
century), the choir and transepts which replaced the 
church of the Confessor. Some doubt exists as to 
how far westward Henry carried the rebuilding of the 
nave, but Dean Stanley was of opinion that the beautiful 
diaper pattern upon the walls marked the limits of his 
work, leaving only the remaining bays to the westward 
to be completed by his successors on the throne. The vault- 
ing of the nave was not finished till a much later date, but 
the jimction of the thirteenth- and fourteenth-century 
work, where the diaper pattern ceases, is stiU readily dis- 
cernible in the altered level of the triforium string courses. ^ 
The delay in the completion of the nave, as it now stands, 
was probably due to the fact that the first three Edwards 
cared less for the Abbey than did Henry III, and pre- 

' The representative principle in England may be said to date from 
the introduction of the jury system for purposes of inquests, etc., by 
William I and its further development under Henry II. 

' Since Dean Stanley wrote, the researches of Messrs. Micklethwaite, 
Lethaby, Bond and, more recently, the Rev. R. B. Rackham, have 
added enormously to our knowledge of the fabric of the Abbey and 
the exertions made by individual abbots to complete the original 
design of Henry III. 


ferred to concentrate their attention on the rebuilding 
of St. Stephen's Chapel in the palace, the building 
which, as we shall show later on, was destined in after 
years to become the home of the Commons, and so to 
continue for well-nigh three centuries. The influence of 
Amiens and Rheims, which Henry III knew and loved, is 
apparent in the apse of Westminster Abbey, in the am- 
bulatory, and in the nest of chapels radiating from the 
central shrine, yet, to their lasting credit be it spoken, 
the erection and adornment of almost the whole of the 
great church was due to native craftsmen. 

It was customary for the Kings of England to wear 
their crowns at least once a year at Winchester, and 
preferably at Eastertide. In the case of Henry III 
this symbol of sovereignty was a mere circlet of gold, 
for his father had lost the ancient crown with the other 
regalia in the Wash. And at Winchester, the place of 
his birth, Henry continued to keep his money and 
his treasure. The office of the Exchequer at West- 
minster, where the money was in the first instance 
paid in, has been frequently confused with the Winchester 
Treasury, where it was permanently stored. Gradually 
the Winchester storehouse was superseded for all pur- 
poses by that at Westminster, and from Plantagenet 
times both Treasury and Jewel House formed part of the 
appurtenances of the Palace. But little known, owing 
to its remote situation, in a quiet mews off Great College 
Street, the venerable Jewel Tower stiU stands much as 
it left the builder's hands not later than the reign of 
Richard II. To a chamber in this historic bmlding 
Charles I and Rushworth, the Clerk Assistant of the 
House of Commons, retired to compare their respective 


notes of the proceedings on the occasion of the attempted 
arrest of the Five Members in 1642. 

An illustration of this interesting relic of old West- 
minster will be found reproduced in this volume. In 
it are now stored the standard weights and measures 
in the custody of the Board of Trade. Surrounded 
as it is on nearly every side by high modem buildings, 
it is difl&cidt to obtain a good view of the exterior. The 
view here given is taken from the leads at the back 
of the house lately in the occupation of Mr. Henry 
Labouchere, and tradition says that under it have 
been discovered the traces of an underground passage 
leading from the Palace to the Abbey. It is perhaps not 
known to many of those who frequent the Palace at the 
present day that a portion of the outer surface of the 
western wall of Westminster Hall has been preserved 
precisely as it left the hands of its Norman builders, 
and with their masons' marks still intact on many of 
the stones.^ 

The lower storey of the cloister, * added to the Hall 
by Mr. Pearson in 1888 on the demolition of Sir John 
Soane's Law Courts, replaces, according to the views 
of that capable architect, an earlier lean-to structure 
on the same site. For some 800 years the outer air 
has been excluded from the Norman masonry, and to 
the protecting influence of this cloister and its prede- 
cessors is due the preservation of this relic of the Palace 
of Rufus. Even after the great fire of 1834, one of the 

' I give this information on the authority of Mr. Pearson, though 
good judges have also been of opinion that no part of the ashlar work 
of the Hall is of earUer date than Richard II. 
( ' Now used as the Journal office and Private Bill office. 

ProfH a d}'awiit£: i'y L. Hi^sscll Coniy 


original Norman windows remained at the south end of 
the eastern side of the Hall, immediately above the string- 
course added by Richard II, and a good illustration 
of it wiQ be found in Brayley and Britton's Palace of 
Westminster,^ but it was most unnecessarily destroyed 
in the course of some repairs to the Hall in the reign of 
William IV. 

By an ingenious contrivance Mr. Pearson filled the 
spaces between the buttresses (added by Richard II to 
support the great thrust of the incomparable roof) with 
a two-storeyed gallery, which, though much criticised 
at the time of its erection^ should preserve for centuries 
to come the only genuine fragments of Norman work 
remaining in and about the Hall. If, when Mr. Pearson's 
additions were made, the sills of the windows on the 
west side had been lowered to correspond with those 
on the east, the symmetry of this noble building would 
have been enhanced, but unfortunately the opportvmity 
was missed. 

The same architect desired to rebuild the principal, 
or northern, fagade, the towers of which have a spurious 
air, but a parsimonious Treasury withheld the necessary 
funds, as it withheld them from Sir Charles Barry when 
he proposed to cover the roof of the Hall with copper 
and to carry his Victoria Tower up a hundred feet 
higher than it is now. On entering the gates of New 
Palace Yard the least observant will notice that the 
ground falls rapidly towards the great door of the Hall. 
In the course of centuries the level of the soil has been 
raised many feet in the vicinity of the Abbey, but were 
the ground to be excavated to the same depth as in 

> Plate VIII. 


the ornamental garden between St. Margaret's Church 
and the Hall, it would at once be apparent to the most 
casual observer that the Abbey as originally designed stood 
on considerably higher ground than the ancient residence 
of the Saxon and Norman kings. Thus its commanding 
situation in the centre of Thomey Island caused it to 
dominate the surrounding buildings, producing a grand 
architectural effect which is now, unhappily, lost. Both 
Palace and Abbey were surrounded, not only by strong 
walls of defence, but by running water on every side. 

A considerable stream, having its source in the 
wooded northern heights, ran through what is now the 
Green Park to join the estuary of the Thames. This 
was the Aye bourne, from which Hay [Aye] Hill, Tyburn, 
and Ebury derive their names. Eye Cross, an oft- 
quoted boundary in the precincts of the Abbey, stood 
on the same stream. Successive alterations of the 
surface have obliterated many of its channels, but, by 
carefully comparing the terrain with the most trust- 
worthy maps, the limits of Thomey Island can even 
now be traced. A stream ran from near Storey's Gate 
to De La Hay Street, through Gardeners Lane, and 
emptied itself into the Thames near Cannon, or, as some 
have called it, Channel, Row. This waterway in its turn 
was connected with a long ditch or moat occupying the 
site of Princes Street, whilst another brook flowed by 
Great Smith Street and Great College Street to the river 
near Millbank. Westward of this again lay a great marsh 
known to the Anglo-Saxons as Bulinga Fen.^ 

It must be remembered that in Norman, and probably 

^ The name has been wisely revived by the London County Council 
in forming a new street by the Tate Gallery of British Art. 


/■'yon; a ^Itotogt af^Jt hy Sir Bc'ijinithi Stone 


much later, times the whole site of St. James's Park 
and Tothill Fields was a tidal swamp, and that where 
Buckingham Palace now stands bitterns' boomed and 
snipe drummed. St. James's Park is said to have been 
formed by Henry VIII to gratify Anne Boleyn after 
the Court had removed from Westminster to White- 
hall. To this day there is water in the cellars of the 
houses in Birdcage Walk at certain states of the tide, 
and when the new building for the Office of Works 
at Storey's Gate was in course of erection, a few years 
ago, the greatest difficulty was experienced in procuring 
a solid foundation, owing to the boggy nature of the sub- 
soil at this spot. Whenever an old house on the site 
of the Long Ditch is rebuilt similar difficulties are en- 
countered, and the fact that the soU underlying the 
Abbey and the Palace is composed of pure water-worn 
sand is the probable explanation of there being no crypt 
under the church, and no subterranean chamber under 
the great Hall. The gardens and orchards, and even 
the vineyards, of Westminster were famous for centuries 
before the atmosphere of London became laden with 
soot, and foul from the smoke of innumerable chimneys ; 
and in a place called the Herbary, " between the King's 
Chamber and the Church," Henry III ordered pear 
trees to be planted, so that he might see the Abbey 
rising in all its fairness, in the springtime, above a wealth 
of white blossom. 

Before the destruction of Gardeners Lane simul- 
taneously with King Street — for centuries the only 
approach to Westminster from the north, for Parlia- 
ment Street is, as it were, a thing of yesterday — it was 
easy to trace in its bends and curves the tortuous course 


of the bed of the stream which once divided the Isle 
of Thorns from what we now call Whitehall. 

The King Street avenue to Westminster only came 
into existence when the Empress Maud, at her own 
charge, threw a bridge across the stream at this point, 
additional proof, if such were needed, of the detachment 
of the city of London from the residence of the Norman 
kings. When the river was yet imembanked, the usual 
mode of approach to Westminster was by water, and, 
shifting the scene to Great College Street, it requires 
no great effort of imagination to picture in the mind's 
eye the clear, cool water flowing alongside the wall of 
the Infirmary garden, and the Ab^ot issuing from his 
water-gate to take barge upon the Thames. Archi- 
tecturally, London may have gained by the formal align- 
ment of the Embankment, but much that was picturesque 
was destroyed when, on the destruction of the foreshore, 
a great natural force was hemmed in between solid walls 
of stone, and a mighty river reduced to the commonplace 
proportions of the Liffey or the Seine. Before the 
Thames was urbanised, so to speak, Thorney Island was 
subject to periodical inundations, and Matthew Paris 
relates how the untrammelled waters swept into West- 
minster Hall and boats floated within its gates.^ 

The space enclosed in the thirteenth century by these 
various streams, of which the Gardeners Lane channel 
formed the northern boundary of the island, the Thames 
the eastern, the Long Ditch the western, and the College 
Street brook the southern, measured rather less than 
five hundred yards from north to south, and less than 

1 Only within the last decade a violent thunderstorm which burst 
over Westminster once more flooded the Hall, so that the water stood 
a foot deep at its principal entrance. 

From a photogi-apk by Sir Beujamiu Stone 


three hundred from east to west. Yet this circumscribed 
area is beheved to have supported a population of many 
thousands, if there be taken into account, in addition 
to all the King's dependents, those of the Abbot. Every- 
thing required for the Court was produced within the 
walls, and such was the profusion of the Plantagenets, 
that they maintained within the verge of the palace 
a small army of artificers. 

When we remember that, in addition to the multitude 
of servants and men-at-arms (Richard the Second never 
moved without an escort of four thousand archers), 
the great officers of state — many of whom were in con- 
stant attendance on the Sovereign — were all housed 
within the Palace, and when, further, we take into 
account the vast establishment of the adjoining Abbey, 
it is probable that the total population of Thomey, 
at the period when it first became the meeting-place 
of Pariiament, amounted to some twenty-five thousand 

The difficulty of reaching Westminster in the Middle 
Ages is brought home to us by numerous recorded in- 
stances of failure on the part of the Commons to comply 
with the royal summons. In most cases the delay 
was attributed to the state of the roads. Never good 
at the best of times, in rainy seasons and severe winters 
the main highways became almost impassable. The 
long and expensive journey to London from the northern 
parts of the country could only be accomplished after 
many halts by the way. Leaving Fumess, for example, 
the Abbot would cross the sands at Morecambe Bay on 
his way to York to join the Archbishop. Five-and- 
twenty miles would be as much as he would accomplish 


in his first day's progress, and, after putting up at a rest 
house on the line of route, he would cross the moors 
separating Lancashire from Yorkshire on the next day. 
One or more of these ancient rest houses are still stand- 
ing. There is one at Halton and another near Clitheroe. 
From York to London the Abbot would enjoy the 
protection of the Archbishop's retinue on the road. 
The Abbots of Abingdon and other great ecclesiastics 
had town houses in Westminster from a very early 
period. Many of the episcopal sees owned mansions in 
the Strand with gardens sloping to the waterside, and 
the Archbishops of York only lost their hold on White- 
hall with the fall of Wolsey. 

Some of those who came from the home counties, and 
who dwelt within reach of the Thames, were able to make 
a portion of the journey to London by water. Archbishop 
Wake, who died in 1737, is said to have been the last 
Primate who habitually came from Lambeth to West- 
minster in his state barge. But the hardships cheerfully 
endured by the Knigh+s of the Shire and the burgesses 
whose homes lay in remote districts must have been 
considerable in the thirteenth century. Such was the 
habitual insecurity of the roads that the faithful Com- 
mons, in their efforts to reach Westminster, were 
accustomed to travel in large bodies ; the knights on 
horseback, each with his retinue of men-at-arms, whilst 
the humbler burgesses in a straggling cavalcade formed 
their own body-guard. Wheeled vehicles were seldom, if 
ever, used on long journeys, and for the aU-sufficient 
reason that there was no conveyance to be had between 
the clumsy waggons employed by the Sovereign on his 
royal progresses and the two-wheeled agricultural carts. 


which were as yet little better than square boxes of 
rudely-fashioned planks. 

The luxury of private coaches dated from a much 
later period, and their use only became practicable 
when the condition of the main roads had been materially 
improved. An illustration of the almost universal prac- 
tice of making long journeys on horseback is afforded 
by a letter written by Dame Margaret Paston to her 
husband, who was lying ill of " a great dysese " in London 
in the fifteenth century. She begged him to return to 
Norfolk as soon as he could bestride his horse. Though 
the Pastons were rich people as the times went, the idea 
of his returning home in a carriage seems never to have 
occurred to either of the pair. 

Peers and prelates did not start on a journey without 
a great train following in their wake. On such occasions 
they took with them a number of body servants of 
different degrees, like kings in miniature. Attended 
by their squires, their men-at-arms, their jesters, and 
their menial servants, they descended like locusts on the 
reluctant inhabitants of the region through which they 
desired to pass. 

Purveyance was in the main a royal prerogative, 
yet the demands of lesser men often weighed heavily 
on the rural population. At sundown the traveller 
of high degree, and likewise his retainers, sought shelter 
for the night. ^ In the monastery hospitality was held to 
be a religious duty, and as most of the greater ecclesi- 
astical houses had been, in part at least, endowed by the 
nobility, its members felt no compunction in asking for 
the accommodation so freely accorded. But only people 

' Compare Jusserand, English Wayfaring Life in the Middle Ages. 


of exalted rank were entertained in the monastery itself. 
The great mass of their dependents fared less sumptuously 
in the guest-house. 

The habits of courtesy prevailing in mediaeval England 
ensured the knight the asylum of the guest-chamber 
in the house of his equal in rank. Thus, whilst the monks 
received the poor from charity and the rich from necessity, 
the country gentleman upon his travels quartered him- 
self upon his like. The common inns were only used 
by the lower middle class, and they as a rule did not 
move far from their homes. Too expensive for the poor 
and too miserable in their appointments for the better 
class of traveller, these inns did not emerge from the 
chrysalis stage until the advent of the public coach in 
the seventeenth century. What kind of accommodation 
the Knights of the Shire found at Westminster it is difficult 
to say. Probably the evils of overcrowding were thus 
early in evidence. Sanitation was so far unknown 
that the cleansing of the streets was left to that volunteer 
army of scavengers — the kites. Soaring in mid-air 
around the Abbey they fell, like bolts from the blue, on 
the offal and carrion with which the narrow streets were 
strewn, to bear it away to their nesting-places in the 
wooded northern heights. 

The condition of the main thoroughfares in London 
was not much better than that of the country roads. 
In 1314 several members of the Court petitioned 
Edward II to have the road from Temple Bar to the 
Palace Gate at Westminster repaired. It was said 
to be so dangerous that rich and poor alike, whether 
on horseback or on foot, were impeded in their passage 
to and fro. Those who were compelled to use it " en 


mauvais tempz " were " desturbez de lor busoignes suire 
par profoundesce del dit chemyn." Nothing was done 
for some years, but Edward III ordered the road to be 
paved from end to end, and the expense defrayed by a 
tax on all merchandise going to the Staple at Westmin- 
ster. At the same time the Staple was defined to extend 
from Temple Bar to Tothill.^ But all journeys, whether 
by sea or land, must have an ending, and at last the 
faithful Commons, with a perseverance only equalled 
by that of the Canterbury pilgrims, came in sight of the 
massive towers and frowning walls of Westminster, and 
passed, awestruck at the novelty and magnificence of 
the scene, within the portals of the Palace. There 
in the heart of the ancient buildings stood, until the 
disastrous fire of 1834, the actual room in which the 
Confessor died — the painted chamber of European 
renown — ^the very hub and centre of the governance 
of England since Anglo-Saxon times. 

The names of several other buildings in the old Palace 
have been preserved. Marculph's Tower stood on the 
river bank and overhung the water. In one of its 
chambers the triers of Petitions, the precursors of legis- 
lation by Bill, met for centuries. There was the Little 
Hall, in which the Commons were ordered to assemble 
in the reign of Edward III.^ The chamber of the Chaun- 
tour 3 was near the Palace Gate, and here the triers 
of Petitions for Gascony met. 

The Star Chamber is mentioned in the Rolls for 1427, 
and the Council Chamber " pres la grande Chambre du 
Parlement " in 1436, but both of them were probably 

' Hot. Pari., Vol. I, p. 303. ^ Ibid., Vol. II, p. 294. 

3 Of St. Stephen's Chapel. 


in existence long before. The green chamber was an- 
other apartment, the exact position of which it is not 
now possible to identify. In it a miscreant secreted 
himself at the bidding of the Bishop of Winchester, with 
the intention of murdering Henry VI, when Prince of 
Wales, after which no more is heard of it. The Chamber 
of the Cross was the scene of the meeting of the first 
Parliament of Henry VII, and the White Hall, which 
must not be confused with the later palace of that 
name, was the usual meeting-place of the House of 

Many of these time-honoured haUs remained till the 
close of the eighteenth century, when the all-destroying 
Wyatt was unfortunately appointed Superintendent of 
the Works. What escaped his iconoclastic hand, with 
the exception of Westminster Hall and the crypt of 
St. Stephen's Chapel, perished in the great fire of 1834, 
to which further allusion will be made in these pages. 
The great bell tower which forms such a conspicuous 
object in Hollar's View of Westminster was not in existence 
in the thirteenth century, nor had the chapel of St. 
Stephen, afterwards the home of the Commons of 
England, thus early assumed the shape it bore for five 
hundred years. 

What must have been the feelings of the Knight of 
the Shire when, having never perhaps been absent from 
his broad acres before, he entered Thomey, the shrine 
of the Confessor, and found himself for the first time 
in the presence of his sovereign lord the King ! A visit 
to the Confessor's tomb in the adjoining Abbey would 
undoubtedly be paid during his sojourn in London, 
and if, by chance, any of his friends or neighbours were 


at legal variance, was not justice administered from 
the fountain head within the same precincts ? 

One of the greatest changes which have taken place 
in the Palace of Westminster since Henry III took up 
his abode there has been the formation of the compara- 
tively modem thoroughfare between the Abbey and 
the Houses of Pariiament which leads to Millbank and 
on to Pimlico. In the Middle Ages there was no road 
at all through Old Palace Yard. This open space repre- 
sents the Inner Bailly, whilst New Palace Yard to the 
northward formed the Outer Bailly of the original 
structure. Access to City, Palace, or Abbey could only 
be obtained by one or other of the strongly fortified 
gates in the high wall of defence which girt alike the 
residence of King and Abbot. Of these there were four, 
and one at least — the High Gate towards London — was 
held to be of surpassing beauty. Nor was there then 
any road leading up from the river-side, along the line 
of the modem Great George Street, towards St. James's 
Park and the agricultural lands of the great Benedictine 
house. Until the Thames, the fluvius maximus piscosus 
of Fitz-Stephen, was bridged at Westminster the course 
of traffic north and south adhered to the horse ferry 
at Lambeth and avoided the populous suburb on the 
river bank.^ 

Thomey in the thirteenth century we know to have 
been a fortress, a prison, a palace, and a great religious 
house. Defended from the outer world by lofty walls 
and formidable battlements, upon which the royal archers 

' The late Sir Walter Besant thought otherwise, and maintained 
that Thorney was a thickly populated spot long before the building 
of the Abbey, but unfortunately he failed to adduce any convincing 
evidence of his contention. 


kept watch and ward night and day, the extent and 
magnificence of ancient Westminster must have been 
an impressive sight for provincial eyes. Surrounded by 
its great and lesser sanctuaries, its almonries, its bell 
towers, its chapels, gate-houses, and prisons, Thomey 
stood for all that was most inspiring to the average 
English subject, whether of high or low degree. 

Mention of its prisons recalls the grim fact that the 
Abbots of Westminster possessed amongst their many 
privileges the franchise of " furca et fossa," a gallows for 
male offenders, and a pit filled with water for the women. 
In the vicinity of Dean's Yard, to call it by its modem 
name, the Abbot set up his tree of death on a spot known 
as " the Elms," whilst Old Palace Yard was for centuries 
the place of execution for malefactors confined in the 
King's prison. And, even after it ceased to be so used, 
the practice of exposing the heads of felons on the fa9ade 
of Westminster Hall carried on the sinister traditions 
of the place. 

In contradistinction to these sombre associations, 
an age of chivalry provided for the King's loyal subjects 
an ever-changing feast for the eye. It was, on the whole, 
a merry England which ushered in the dawn of the 
Constitution. The warmth and colour of the Middle 
Ages, the tramp of armed men in the Palace, the stately 
processions, and the gorgeous ritual of the Catholic 
Church in an age of almost universal piety, are gone 
from us, with a corresponding loss of reverence in the 
minds of the people, never more to be regained amidst 
the dull conventionalism of the twentieth century. 
Beauty, if perceived at all, must be felt, and the manhood 
of England gained enormously by the teachings of 


chivalry, loyalty, and honour so abundantly manifested 
in the period under review. 

Coronation feasts, solemn jousts and tournaments in 
Tothill Fields held amidst the pageantry which the times 
produced, allegories, mystery plays, tiltings at the ring ; 
all these were part and parcel of the Ufe of a Londoner 
in the Middle Ages. Though there were as yet no theatres, 
the Bankside in Southwark offered more questionable 
attractions to the profligate, who took boat at Stew Lane 
and landed on the Surrey side at Cardinal Cap AUey. The 
great fairs granted to the Abbots by Henry III, to the 
annoyance and the lasting detriment of the City of 
London, were another joyous feature of mediaeval West- 
minster. There, too, could be witnessed, imtil it was finally 
superseded by Trial by Jury, the moving spectacle of 
the ordeal by battle. 

\Vhen life's task is done, it has ever been the summit 
of an Englishman's ambition to sleep within the hallowed 
walls of St. Peter's. And, here at Westminster, within 
one encompassing rampart, were congregated the resi- 
dence of the Sovereign, the Courts of Law, the greatest 
of Benedictine monasteries, and the accustomed meeting- 
place of the Council of the nation. Well may Thomey 
be called, when our purview opens, the seed-plot of 
sovereignty, liberty, justice, and piety ! 


{Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries) 

The Early Speakers and their Precursors 

Petey de Montfort 
William Trussell 
Henry Beaumont 
Geoffrey Le Scrape (Chief 

William de Thorpe (Chief 

WiUiam de Shareshulle 

(Chief Justice) 

Henry Green (Chief 

Thomas Hungerford 
Peter de la Mare 
James Pickering 
John Guildesborough 
Richard Waldegrave 
John Bussy 

THE Knights of the Shire, the backbone of 
the English representative system, were the 
logical outcome of the severance of the bar ones 
minores, or lesser tenants in chief, from the 
House of Lords, a body lineally descended from the feudal 
Norman Curia, and consisting of the greater tenants in 
chief or barones majores. These derived their Parliament- 
ary existence mainly, if not wholly, from the principle of 
primogeniture. Sitting in the first instance by virtue 
of tenure, a very important modification, designed in the 
first instance to secure sufficient attendance on the King 
in Council, was in course of time introduced, which led to 
developments more far-reaching in their effect than their 
authors perhaps foresaw. This epoch-making innovation 
was the issue of a writ of summons, without which none 



could attend. Viewed by its recipients in the earliest 
days of its employment as an inalienable right, it gradu- 
ally came to be regarded as a privilege, and especially 
when it was found that it could be used on occasion to 
exclude possible opponents as well as to include known 
supporters of the Crown. By a master-stroke, amount- 
ing to positive genius, Simon de Montfort so utilised 
this method of selection as to cause attendance on the 
King in Council to be regarded as a privilege by one 
class — ^the magnates of the realm — and as a burden, 
haply to be evaded by the other. ^ 

The precise date at which the lesser tenants-in-chief 
ceased to attend at Westminster, in company with 
the greater barons, and became merged in the body 
of the Knights of the Shire cannot now be determined, 
but, once the control of the Crown over the summons 
was tacitly admitted, it only remained to provide for the 
separate representation of the under tenants and free- 
holders in Parliament, and the transition from tenure to 
selection was in all essentials complete. ^ From the ranks 
of the Knights of the Shire the Speakers were invariably 
drawn until the reign of Henry VHI, when a burgess 
was first selected for that honour.* The aristocracy of 

* Peerage and Pedigree, by J. Horace Round, 1910, Vol. I, p. 357, 
where the origin of the House of Lords is dealt with by a master hand. 

' For the early history of the House of Lords, the first Report of 
the Lords Committee on the Dignity of the Peerage, presented to the 
House 12 July, 1819, and further Reports printed in 1820, 1822, and 
1825, are especially valuable. This Committee was presided over by 
the Earl of Shaftesbury, and its several voluminous Reports have been 
freely used, often without acknowledgment, by almost every writer 
on the British Constitution since the date of issue. 

^ The rural population far outnumbering the sum total of the 
towns, the Knights were able to control the House, while the 
burgesses, in many instances, were content to petition Parliament 
without attending it in person. 


the Lower House of Parliament, they were first sum- 
moned to Westminster during Henry the Third's absence 
in Gascony in 1254 by Eleanor of Provence and Richard, 
Earl of Cornwall, the King's brother.^ 

There is no evidence that the summons was ever 
obeyed, yet it stands as a landmark in our Parliamentary 
annals from its embodying the principle of popular 
representation. The industrious Prynne,* writing in 
the seventeenth century, cited the terms of the writ 
commanding the sheriffs to cause two knights to be 
elected in every county by the counties themselves, to 
appear before the King in Coimcil to report what volun- 
tary aid each county would grant towards the defence of 
Gascony. " Praecipimus," the writ ran, " quod praeter 
omnes prsedictos venire faciatis coram consilio nostro, 
apud Westmonasterium, in quindena Pasche prox 
futur, quatuor legales et discretes milites de Comitatibus 
praedictis, quos iidem Comitatus ad hoc eligerint vice 
omnium et singulorum eorundem, videlicet duos de 
uno Comitatu et duos de alio." Thus the financial 
exigencies of the Sovereign were the primary and deter- 
mining cause of a resort to popular election. 

The gradual decline of the feudal aristocracy of the 
Norman Conquest and the expulsion of foreigners 
enabled the great Simon de Montfort to realise his 
dream of England for the English, and to stamp his 
name for all time upon the Constitution, by setting up 
a representative assembly to which the writ of summons 

' Regent or Joint Guardian of England 1253-54 ; King of the 
Romans 1256-71. Died 1272. 

' The much-persecuted Prynne, the stormy petrel of debate and 
the arch-enemy of the stage, succeeded Selden as Custodian of the 
PubUc Records in the Tower of London. 


was to be a right, instead of, as in the case of the House 
of Lords, a privilege, to be issued or withheld at the will 
of the Sovereign. The loss of Normandy and other 
French possessions of the Crown had the important 
result of rendering the Baronage essentially English, a 
fact which must not be lost sight of in estimating the 
patriotic action of De Montfort. 

A further stage in the growth of Parhamentary in- 
stitutions was reached in 1264-65, when, for the first time, 
De Montfort caused the summons to be extended to the 
burgesses as well as to the Knights of the Shire : — 

" Item mandatum est singulis Vice Com per Angl, 
quod venire faciant Duos milites de legaUoribus, pro- 
bioribus et discretioribus mUitibus singulorum Comitatum 
ad Regem London in Octob prsedict in forma praedicta. 
Item in forma praedicta scribitur civibus Eborum, civibus 
Lincoln et cceteris Burgis Angl quod mittant in forma 
praedicta Duos de discretioribus, legalioribus, et pro- 
bioribus tam civibus quam Burgensibus suis. Item in 
forma praedicta mandatum est Baronibus et probis 
hominibus Quinque Portuum prout Continetur in Brevi 
inrotulato inferius." 

The Cinque Ports, it will be observed, were specially 
directed to send representatives to Parliament, an in- 
stance of the importance already attaching to the 
question of maritime defence.^ 

It would appear that the writs then issued to knights, 
citizens, and burgesses were identical in form and sub- 
stance with those addressed to the spiritual and temporal 
lords. None were issued to the citizens of London, as 
their liberties had been seized by the King, many of 

1 Quoted by Prynne in the second part of A Register and Survey of 
the Several Kinds and Forms of Parliamentary Writs, 1660, p. 29. 


them imprisoned, and their estates confiscated, for having 
sided with the Barons. York and Lincoln were the 
only cities specially mentioned, and throughout the 
long reign of Henry HI distrust of the City of London 
and a preference for Westminster were shown by the 
reluctant conceder of Parliaments. On the one occasion 
upon which he called a Parliament to assemble in the 
Tower of London the Barons refused to attend except at 

The transactions of these early Parliaments, all of 
them of brief duration, consisted for the most part of 
petitions to the Crown for redress of grievances, and the 
principal function of their presiding officers was to 
coUect the views of the majority and to report to the 
King what amount of aid the assembly was willing to 
grant. Little or nothing in the nature of articulate 
protest by the minority is entered on the Rolls, nor is 
it definitely known at what date the practice of dividing 
the House and recording the names of those who dissented 
from the majority was instituted. In 1258 Henry III 
was in such pressing need of money that he aimounced 
that he must have a third of all property. In return 
the Barons were powerful enough to extort from him ^ 
a promise of direct control over the executive. 

Even whilst these pages were passing through the 
press, portions of three writs, addressed to the sheriffs 
of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, Surrey and Sussex, 
and Wiltshire, summoning both Knights of the Shire 
and burgesses to a Parliament to be held at West- 
minster at Easter, 1275, were accidentally found in the 
dust at the bottom of a chest transferred to the Public 

» In the " Mad Parliament " of Oxford. 


Record OjBfice when the Chapel of the Pyx in the Abbey 
precincts was being cleared out, preparatory to its 
being thrown open to the public. This valuable historical 
discovery, foreshadowing to some extent the "Model 
Parliament,"^ included the names of the members re- 
turned for the above-mentioned counties, for Middlesex, 
Somerset, and Dorset, and also for Warwickshire and 

It is true that in 1275 the wording of the sheriffs' 
instructions was " Venire facias," leaving the all-im- 
portant condition of election unspecified, but it must 
be remembered that from the time of King John until 
the various features of our complex Parliamentary 
system were, so to speak, stereotyped in 1295, novelties 
and experiments were frequently being introduced in 
the form of the directions issued by the King to the 
returning officers. Sometimes the Knights of the Shire 
and the burgesses were required to be elected, sometimes 
the vaguer form of " venire facias" was employed, and 
on more than one occasion the summoning of clerical 
proctors was dispensed with. 

The important fact revealed by these documents, 
unexpectedly brought to light after lying unheeded for 
centuries within a stone's-throw of the chamber to which 
they refer, is that, so early as 1275, Edward I, when he 
had only been on the throne for three years, had im- 
proved upon De Montfort's original idea of a summons 
to each borough through its mayor ; that is to say, that 
in the form which Parhament finally assumed the repre- 
sentatives of the town were summoned through the 
sheriff of the shire. 

The Parhament of 1295, which has been called the 
" Model Parliament," marked the end of the experimental 

» Of 1295. 


stage and the definite and permanent establishment 
of an assembly comprising the three estates of the realm. 
For while in the reign of King John, and at the accession 
of Henry III, the legislative assembly of the kingdom 
convened for the purpose of granting aids to the Crown 
may be deemed to have been wholly constituted by 
tenure, in and after 1295 it is clear that tenure did not 
constitute the qualification by which members of the 
Commons sat. Their qualification was henceforth con- 
stituted by election, and the earlier constitution of a 
legislature wholly by tenure was superseded. Besides 
the Lords and Prelates were now regularly included the 
proctors of each cathedral diocese, two knights from 
each shire, two citizens from each city, and two 
burgesses from each borough. 

At the present day, when the powers and constitution 
of the House of Lords are being closely scrutinised, it 
is well to remember that in those far-off Plantagenet 
times the non-hereditary element in the Upper House 
amounted to nearly a moiety of the whole body, a con- 
dition which continued until the reign of Henry VIII. 
The composition of the House of Commons which 
met at Westminster in November, 1295, though pre- 
sumably based upon the distribution of the existing 
population, was remarkable (with certain exceptions, 
to be noted hereafter) for the preponderance of repre- 
sentatives from the southern and western shires. It 
numbered 292 members. Of these no less than 219 
represented the towns, whilst only 73 Knights of the 
Shire were returned.^ 

^ In the Parliament of 1298 appear for the first time in the official 
returns the names of the two members for the City of London. West- 
minster did not obtain separate representation until the first year of 
Edward VI. 


Cornwall, the county which in after years enjoyed 
the unenviable reputation of possessing the greatest 
number of rotten boroughs within its borders, had thus 
early five representative towns, Bodmin, Launceston, 
Liskeard, Tregony, and Truro. Dorset had four, Somerset 
five, Devonshire and Sussex six each, Hampshire nine, 
and Wiltshire, where no doubt the influence of the great 
territorial family of Hungerford was paramount, no less 
than thirteen ! North of the Trent, the part of the 
kingdom which returned the greatest number of borough 
members was, as might have been expected, the county 
of York, which had eleven representatives, Worcester 
coming next to it with seven. It has, unfortunately, 
been impossible to discover the name of the Procurator, 
for such was the title given by contemporary chroniclers 
to the earliest leaders of the Commons, who presided over 
the deliberations of this Mother of Parliaments.^ 

The transactions of the important constitutional 
assembly which met at Westminster in February, 1304-5, 
have been analysed by the late Professor Maitland in his 
masterly introduction to the Memoranda de Parliamento. ^ 
The representatives of the people then dealt with 
many subjects, and amongst others the impending 
subjugation of Scotland. They even concerned them- 
selves with the internal affairs of Ireland ; two natives of 
the sister isle actually petitioning the King to be placed 
under English rule. 

No presiding officer can be positively identified as 
having been chosen in 1304-5, but from the list of names 

' The title of Procurator, one still retained by Convocation, was 
applied to Trussell, who exercised many of the functions associated 
with the Speaker's office, in the reign of Edward II. 

2 Published in the Rolls Series in 1893. 


preserved in the Public Records we gather that a Lowther 
sat as Knight of the Shire for Westmorland exactly 
six hundred years before a member of the same ancient 
Northern family was raised to the Chair. ^ The deiiciencies 
of the printed Rolls of Parliament, the work in the first 
instance of the Clerks in Chancery, are both numerous 
and regrettable. Chiefly concerned as they are with 
Petitions, to the exclusion of debate, there is some 
reason to believe that many interesting details of the 
ordinary routine of Parliament in the days of its youth 
remain unedited and undigested in the national archives. 

Valuable as are the six folio volumes printed between 
1767 and 1777, their editors only made selections from 
a mass of available material. Historical research at the 
close of the eighteenth century had not attained to the 
high level reached in our own day by Professor Maitland 
and other labourers in the same field, and it is much to be 
desired that the entire series of Chancery Rolls should be 
edited afresh and printed in extenso in English, after the 
thorough manner adopted in the case of the Registers of 
the Privy Council. To these should be added a transcript 
of the various forms of Parliamentary Writs and a precis 
of all such documents in the Public Record Office as relate 
to the early history of both branches of the legislature^ 

Much divergence of opinion prevails amongst consti- 
tutional writers as to the actual date of the separa- 
tion of the two Houses. Hakewil, who wrote in 1641, 
possibly had access to documentary evidence no longer 
extant, and he maintained that they deliberated apart, 
or that at all events they gave their assents separately, 

1 The Right Hon. James William Lowther was first elected Speaker 
in 1905. 


so early as 1260, and Sir Edward Coke asserted that he 
had seen contemporary evidence which proved that the 
separation of the two bodies took place at the desire of 
the Commons.^ But as there is no evidence in existence 
to show that the Parhaments held before 1264-65 included 
a more popular element than the Barons and Prelates, 
it seems safer to assume that the division into two Houses 
did not actually take place until early in the reign of 
Edward IH.^ 

Throughout this reign the Rolls record regulations for 
the maintenance of order within the Palace of West- 
minster during the sitting of ParUament. In 1331-32 it 
was declared that " Our Lord the King forbids, on pain 
of imprisonment, any child or other person from playing 
at bars ^ or other games, the taking off of men's caps, 
laying hands on them, or otherwise preventing them from 
peacefully following their occupations in any part of the 
Palace of Westminster during the sitting of Parliament."* 

^ See Howell's State Trials, Vol. XIII, p. 1410, in which a report 
of Coke's of XII James I (1614) is quoted. 

• In 1332, and again in 1339, the Lords and Commons undoubtedly- 
made separate grants. These distinct grants imply separate grantors, 
and it is safe to assume that after 1332 a permanent union of knights 
and burgesses was effected. See Rolls of Parliament, Vol. II, pp. 66 and 
104. An ingenious view, supported by a considerable section of well- 
informed opinion, is that although the Lords and the Commons met 
together in Westminster Hall, or some other apartment in the Palace, 
on the opening day of a new Parliament, it has not been conclusively 
proved that they, at any time, deliberated in the same chamber. 

' Bares. 

' Rot. Pari., VI Edward III, p. 64. The words of the original 
Norman-French are worth quoting : " N'= Seigneur le Roi defend sur 
peyne d'emprisonement que nul enfaunt ne autres ne jue en ul Ueu du 
Paleys de Westminster, durant le Parlement q y est somons, a bares 
ne as autres jues, ne a ouster Chaperouns des gentz, ne mettre mayn 
en eux, ne autre empeschement fais p qoi chescun ne puisse peysible- 
ment sure ses basoignes. 


The precise nature of the game of " bares," to which 
the youth of Westminster were addicted, cannot now be 
stated, but it was probably some form of a game known 
in later times as French and English or prisoner's base. 
The snatching of men's caps, and other forms of rough 
horse-play were the traditional recreations of the idle 
apprentice. Nearly six hundred years later the police are 
directed, at the beginning of each session, to secure free 
access to members repairing to the Palace of Westminster, 
though it is no longer necessary to issue regulations as to 
the playing of games within the precincts of Parliament. 

When the Knights of the Shire first obtained repre- 
sentation at Westminster they acted with the Barons 
rather than with the citizens and burgesses, and it was 
not until the country gentry were fused with the new 
blood imported by the inclusion of the burgesses that an 
estate of the realm which, in the fullness of time, was 
destined to become the predominant partner in the 
Constitution, became an established fact. 

Though there is conclusive proof of the Commons 
being thanked by the King for their services in 1304-5,^ 
this does not necessarily imply that they had finally 
separated from the Lords, and when in 1315 one William 
de Ayremine, a Clerk in Chancery, was deputed by the 
Crown to note the business in ParUament he probably 
recorded the doings of both Lords and Commons. Another 
of this name was secretary to Edward II in 1325-26. 

The Parliament held at York in May, 1322, obtained 
from Edward II an acknowledgment of the supremacy 
of a complete representative assembly. This declara- 
tion, entered on the RoUs, virtually amounted to a 

1 Rot. Pari., Vol. I, p. 159. 


written Constitution, and made it abundantly clear that, 
for the future, " all matters to be established for the 
estate of our Lord the King and his heirs, and for the 
estate of the realm and of the people " should require 
the consent of the prelates, the earls and barons, and 
the Commonalty of the realm. No mention is made at 
this time of the Knights of the Shire, who probably 
continued to act with the Barons until after 1332.^ 

In 1330 the Upper House had its own clerk.^ Sire 
Henry de Edenestowe was the first to be appointed to 
the honourable position of Clerk of the Pariiaments. 
Apparently it was from the first an office of profit 
under the Crown, for in 1346 the King required a 
loan of £100 from him ! ^ Not until 1388, when 
John de Scardesburgh was chosen, does history record 
the appointment of a similar officer for the Commons, 
yet as he was established in office at that date it is 
reasonable to infer that his post existed previously. 

Turning aside from the conditions under which the 
Lower House first met at Westminster, its earliest pre- 
siding officers claim attention at our hands. The great 
names of Montfort, Trussell, Beaumont, Scrope, De la 
Mare, and Hungerford, six of the very flower of England, 
are associated with the popular assembly in the first years 
of its existence, and those, scarcely less considerable, of 
Pickering, Guildesborough, Waldegrave, and Bussy, com- 
pleting the catalogue of Plantagenet Speakers, are all 
known to have played some part in the history of the 
country. The memory of others who filled the Chair in 
the turbulent times of the fourteenth century has been 

1 Rot. Pari., Vol. I, p. 456. " Ibid., Vol. II, p. 52. 

" Ibid., Vol. II, p. 4S4- 


obliterated in the course of the centuries which have 
elapsed since they voiced the opinion of the representa- 
tives of the people in free Parliament assembled. Eng- 
land then, as now, was governed by opinion rather 
than by acts of despotism, as Sir Robert Peel was wont to 
remark. Peter de Montfort is said^ to have consented " vice 
totius communitatis " to the banishment of Aymer de 
Valence, Bishop-Elect of Winchester and half-brother 
to Henry the Third. These were the identical words 
made use of by Speaker Tiptoft in 1405-6, when he 
signed and sealed the entail to the Crown,* and yet the 
word communitas as applied by Peter de Montfort may 
only have been intended to convey a collective body of 
Crown vassals, whereas, in the latter instance, the 
Speaker undoubtedly referred to the House of Commons 
as a separate entity. 

The sole authority for Hakewil's statement is the 
Register Book of St. Alban's Abbey, formerly in the 
Cottonian Library, and, as he refers to the actual page,^ 
it appears that both he and Sir Symonds D'Ewes, who 
also quotes the Register, saw it with their own eyes. But 
it cannot now be traced in the British Museum, and it is 
to be feared that this valuable manuscript must have 
perished in the fire which destroyed 100 volumes of the 
Cottonian Collection in 173 1, and rendered a hke number 
illegible. In 1259 Pope Alexander IV was striving with 
all his might to procure the recall of Aymer de Valence 
from exile, but the answer which Peter de Montfort trans- 
mitted to Rome was couched in these uncompromising 

terms : — 


' Again on the authority of Hakewil. 

» VII and VIII Henry IV. 3 FoUo 207. 


"Si Dominus Rex et Regni majores hoc vellent, 
communitas tamen, ipsius ingressorum in Anglia, jam 
nullatenus sustineret." 


From the date given by Hakewil,^ it seems not unUkely 
that Peter de Montfort may have acted as presiding 
officer of the so-called " Mad Parliament " of 1258, when 
he was undoubtedly one of the twelve nominees of the 
Baronial, as opposed to the Court, party, entrusted with 
the duty of carrying out the great work of reform known 
to our forefathers as the " Provisions of Oxford." But, 
as has already been pointed out, the Knights of the Shire 
and thfe burgesses were not represented in the Parliament 
of 1258, therefore Peter de Montfort can only have acted 
as the spokesman of a restricted assembly of Barons and 
Prelates, nor was there any Parliament actually in session 
at the time of his protest against the recall of Aymer de 
Valence. To the Provisions of Oxford Henry IH published 
his adhesion in the first known English Proclamation, 
and a copy of it still exists at Oxford. It is written 
chiefly in the Midland dialect and there is not a single 
French word in it. Probably Simon de Montfort felt 
the need of appealing to the nation at large, and 
this English confirmation of the royal acquiescence was 
dupUcated by his orders in the Latin and French 

One would naturally like to connect the name of the 
first Parliamentary spokesman with that of the great 
Simon, the originator of the principle of the House of Com- 

1 For an account of the whole circumstances attending Aymer de 
Valence's banishment, see Gasquet's Henry III and the Church, 1905, 
pp. 320-3. 

« The forty-fourth year of Henry III. 


mons, if not its actual inventor ; and some writers have 
gone so far as to assert that Peter was his son, and that, 
Hke his better-known father, he was killed at the battle 
of Evesham. But, unfortunately for the holders of this 
theory, it does not anywhere appear that Simon had a son 
called Peter. He was, in greater likelihood, Baron of 
Beaudesert, and of Henley in Arden, in the county of 
Warwick, and of a family not known to have been nearly 
related to the great Earl of Leicester. One of the same 
name, a possible relative of Simon, fought and fell at 
Evesham, but if, as seems certain, the earliest Parliamen- 
tary spokesman on record came of the Warwickshire stock, 
his death did not take place till twenty years later. ^ 

We have no certain knowledge of the individuals who 
acted as Procurator in any of the sessions known to 
have been held between 1261 and 1325, yet in all 
of them there must have been some presiding officer, 
some intermediary between Parliament and the Crown. 
But when the last Parliament summoned by Edward 
the Second is reached there is documentary evidence of 
a Parliamentary leader who achieved sufficient notoriety 
to be honoured at his death by burial in Westminster 
Abbey, a distinction, by the way, which has been con- 
ferred on but very few of his successors in the Chair. 
This was Wilham TrusseU,^ who acted as "Procurator 
totius Parliamenti " s on the deposition of Edward the 

1 See G. E. C.'s Complete Peerage under the title Montfort, where the 
date of his death is given as 1284. 

^ Trussell's name is not to be found in the Return of Members' 
Names in 1 326-27, though he had been a Knight of the Shire for Leicester 
in 1 3 14. Like Peter de Montfort, he probably attended Parliament in 
the capacity of a Minor Baron. 

» Henry of Knighton's Chronicle, contained in Twysden's Decern 
Scnptores, 1652, p. 2549. 


Second at Kenilworth, and the same man whom Marlowe 
refers to in his play of Edward II : — ^ 

" My Lord, the Parliament must have present news, 
and therefore say, will you resign or not ? " 

Apparently Trussell acted in a similar capacity in the 
reign of Edward the Third, for in 1340 he announced a 
naval victory to the House, ^ and was specially mentioned 
in the Rolls as undertaking to raise wools for the King's 

The Parliament which assembled at Westminster, " a 
la quinzeine de la Seint Michel," in 1339,^ whether it 
was presided over or not by Trussell, was one of excep- 
tional interest and importance, although its proceedings 
have received very scant attention at the hands of con- 
stitutional writers. John Stratford, the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, came from overseas with a message from 
the King to his ParUament; the Proclamation caUing 
the Lords and Commons together was made in the 
Great Hall, and the cause of summons made no secret 
of the fact that the King was in urgent need of a great 
sum of moiiey for the defence of the realm. 

The Abbot of Westminster, Thomas Henley, Monsieur 
Hugh le Despencer, Monsieur Gilbert Talbot, Monsieur 
Robert de lisle, and Monsieur Wilham de la Pole are 
amongst those specially named in the Rolls as assenting 
forthwith to the granting of a sum sufficient to meet the 
King's necessities, " ou autrement il serroit honiz [shamed] 
& deshonurez et lui et son poeple destruyt a tons jours." 
But when Parliament came to consider the method of 

1 Act V, scene 17. 

2 Rot. Pari., Vol. II, p. 118. 
' XIII Edward III. 


raising the necessary supplies, there occurred one of 
those marked divergences of opinion between the two 
Houses which occasionally agitate the public mind in 
the twentieth as in the fourteenth century. 

In 1339 the Lords consented to grant the King the 
tenth sheaf of all the com in their demesnes, except of 
their bound tenants, the tenth fleece of the wool, and the 
tenth lamb of their own store, to be paid within two 
years. To this they attached a proviso to the effect that 
the great burden proposed to be laid upon wool ought 
to be revoked at no distant date, and that the grant 
should not be turned into a custom. But the Commons, 
when asked for an equivalent levy, made answer 
that before they were prepared to assent to this 
novel taxation they desired to consult their con- 
stituents, and, in effect, they prayed the King to dissolve 
the Parliament and call another to decide the question. 
Mutatis mutandis, the impasse in 1339 was not dissimilar 
to the deadlock of 1909, though, whereas in the former 
year the Commons desired to take the opinion of the 
country before agreeing to a new form of taxation, in 
1909 it was the Upper House which refused to pass the 
Budget of the year without first referring it to the judg- 
ment of the people. The whole record on the Rolls is 
of such historical importance that no apology is needed 
for reproducing in extenso the answer of the Commons :— 

" Et ceux de la Commune donnerent lour respons en 
un autre cedule, contenante la fourme souuzescrite. 

" Seignurs, les gentz q sount cy a ce Parlement pur la 
Commune ount bien entendu I'estat nre Seignur le Roi, 
et la graunt necessite q'il ad d'estre aide de son poeple ; 
et molt sount leez de cuer, & grantment confortez de ce 


q'il est tant alez avant en les busoignes queles il ad em- 
pris, a I'honur de lui, & salvacion de son poeple ; et 
prient a Dieu q'il lui doigne grace de bien continuer & 
victorie de ses enemys a I'honur de lui, & salvacion de 
sa terre. Et*quant a la necessite q'U ad d'estre aide de 
son poeple, les gentz de la Commune qi sount cy scievent 
bien q'il covient estre aidez grauntement, et sount en 
bone volente de la faire, si come ils ount este touz jours 
devant ces houres. Mes pur ceo q'il covient q I'aide soit 
graunt, en ce cas ils n'osoront assentir tant q'ils eussent 
conseillez & avysez les Communes de lour pais. Parquoi 
prient les ditz gentz q cy sount pur les Communes a 
Monseigneur le Due, & as austres Seigii q cy sount, q'il 
lui pleise somondre un autre Parlement au certein jour 
covenable, et en le meen temps chescun se trerra vers son 
pais, & promettent loiaument, en la ligeance q'ils dey- 
vent a nre Seignur le Roi, q'ils mettront tut la peine 
q'ils purront chescun devers son pais pur aver aide bon 
et covenable pur nre Seignur le Roi, et quident, od I'aide 
de Dieu, bien exploiter. Et prient outre, qe Brief soit 
mande a chescun Viscont d'Engleterre, q deux de mielx 
vanez Chivalers des Contez soient esluz & enviez at 
preschein Parlement pur la Commune, si qe nul de eux 
' soit Viscomt ne autre ministre." ^ 

It would seem that the request of the Commons was 
granted, for the King called a new ParUament to assemble 
at Westminster only three months later. On this occa- 
sion the infant Black Prince was the nominal guardian 
of the kingdom in his father's absence, while the 
administration of the country really lay in the hands of 
the Council. 

Three years later, in 1343, the Rolls relate : " Et puis 
vindrent les Chivalers de Counteez et les Communes et 

1 Rot. Pari., Vol. II, p. 104, 1339, XIII Edward III. 


repondirent par Mons' William Trussell en la dite Cham- 
bre blanche " to a communication from the Pope. Dean 
Stanley says that he was buried in the Abbey in 1364, 
but, if the statement in G. E. C.'s Peerage that he died 
before 1346 is correct, Stanley's note is in all proba- 
bility a misprinted date, Trussell's tomb was in St. 
Michael's Chapel under the image of St. George. A 
foliated cross remaining in the pavement may be his 
memorial, for, though the slab has long been supposed to 
mark the resting-place of one of the Abbots, a herald's 
roll of the reign of Edward III records that : " Monsire 
William Trussell port d'argent une crois de gules les bouts 
floretes," ^ which accords with the blazon on the stone 
at Westminster. The Rolls record the names of one or 
two more Parliamentary spokesmen of early date, 
though the constituencies they represented are not now 
in all cases to be ascertained. 

Of the Parliament which met at Westminster 16 March, 
1331-32, we read : " Lesqueux Contes Barons et autres 
Grantz puis revindrent et repondirent touz au Roi par 
la bouche [de] Mons^ Henri de Beaumont." And in the 
next Parhament Sir Geoffrey Le Scrope, the King's Chief 
Justice, is mentioned as acting in the same capacity. 
Both Beaumont and Scrope, and probably others, were, 

1 Though summoned to a Council in 1341-42, Trussell was never 
a Peer of Parliament, as has been supposed by Burke and other 
genealogical writers. The family owned property in the county of 
Stafford, and other large estates in the neighbourhood of Windsor 
formerly belonging to Oliver of Bordeaux. Their armorial bearings 
are still to be seen in a south window of the beautiful Decorated 
chancel of Warfield Church, an old forest parish in Berkshire. 
Though styled " Monsieur " in the Rolls, Trussell was made a Knight 
of the Bath on 22 May, 1 306, unless this was another man of the same 
name. Shottesbrooke Church, also in Windsor Forest, was built by one 
of the same family. 


however, almost certainly the mouthpieces of both Houses 
rather than the especial servants of the Commons. 
It now became customary for the Chief Justice to de- 
clare the cause of summons at the opening of a new 
Parliament, and instances are cited by Els5mge of this 
being done by William Thorpe, Sir William Shareshull, 
and Henry Green. Occasionally the King's Chamberlain 
acted as his deputy. ^ Elsynge, however, misconceived 
the true functions of the individual selected by the 
Crown to declare the cause of summons, and he was 
quite wrong in assmning that the Chief Justice per- 
formed duties analogous to those of the modern Speaker. 
All the evidence which exists goes to prove that the 
Commons had not as yet acquired the right of electing 
the Speaker of their free choice. 

It has often been stated in print that the Commons, 
from the time when they began to deliberate apart, 
were in the habit of assembling in the Chapter House of 
Westminster Abbey. This building was begun about 
1250, but it was certainly not finished in 1256, when 
Dean Stanley states that the Commons met in it. He 
also stated that the " Commons of London," a rather 

■■ XXV Edward III, 1351-52. " The cause of summons was declared 
by William de Shareshull, Chief Justice, and receivers and triers of 
petitions being read, he willed the Commons to put their advice in 
writing, and deliver it to the King, so that he was Speaker." 

XXIX Edward III. " The Chief Justice declared that the King's 
pleasure was that the cause of summons should be declared by Mon- 
sieur Walter de Manny, and so it was. Yet the Chief Justice managed 
the Parliament business as Speaker, for presently after Mons' Manny 
his discourse, he willed the Commons to advise thereof. Here you 
see the Chief Justice ranked first above the Lords in delivering their 
votes, so that it is plain the Chief Justice managed the Parliament 
business as Speaker appointed by the King, and that he did execute 
the ofi&ce (not supply the place) of the Chancellor therein." — Elsynge's 
Manner of Holding Parliaments in England, 1768 edition, pp. 138-46. 


vague term, assembled in the cloisters in 1263, yet in 
neither of these years was there a Parliament summoned. 
Other writers give 1282, when Ware was Abbot, as the 
year in which the Chapter House was first so used ; but, 
unfortunately for the holders of this theory, no Parlia- 
ment is known to have been summoned to meet at West- 
minster between 1275 and 1290, though an informal 
assembly of ecclesiastical and civil magnates was held 
there on 23 April, 1286. 

A careful study of the Rolls will show that these 
several assumptions are based upon a misapprehension 
of the facts. The Commons' first known place of assembly 
apart from the Lords was the Painted Chamber, and they 
met in it at least as early as the Easter Parliament of 
1343.^ This apartment was in close proximity to the 
White Hall, or Chambre Blanche, in which the Peers and 
Prelates were accustomed to meet. Moreover, at the 
beginning of the fourteenth century relations between 
the King and the Abbot were very strained, and after a 
robbery of the Royal Treasury, to be mentioned here- 
after, the Abbot of Westminster and many of his monks 
were committed to the Tower of London. In 1348 came 
the Black Death, which reduced the income of the 
monastery almost to vanishing point. 

Not until 1351-52 is there any mention in the RoUs 
of the Commons deUberating in the Chapter House. 
But in that year Simon Langham was Abbot of West- 
minster, and it is conceivable that, owing to his interest 
with the King, they were then induced to forsake the 
Palace for a building not originally intended for lay pur- 
poses, and which lay under the iron rule of the most 

1 Rot. Pari., Vol. II, pp. 136, 237a. 


powerful ecclesiastic whom Westminster had yet known. 
From his great wealth (liberally expended on the fabric, 
both in his hfetime and after his decease), and his com- 
manding personahty, Simon Langham, Cardinal and 
Archbishop, came to be known as the third Founder 
of the Monastery on the Isle of Thorns. ^ 

Like the earlier Simon, the still greater De Montfort, 
the Abbot of Westminster had his share in the develop- 
ment of Parliamentary institutions. Only a httle while 
before the first definite association of the Commons with 
the Chapter House the representatives of the people 
had shown an inchnation to find fault with the existing 
land laws, and Edward III may have thought the 
moment an opportune one for bringing the knights, 
citizens, and burgesses more directly under the influence 
of the Church. Yet in 1368, the forty-second year of 
Edward III, the Commons were back in the Palace, 
meeting in the Petite Salle, and the Lords in the Chambre 
Blanche. 2 

Abbot Langham, from his unique position at the head 
of a monastery with vast territorial possessions, was a 
most competent adviser of the Crown on all questions 
relating to the ownership of the soil, and, once within 
the sheltering walls of the sacred building, the earlier 
note of discontent amongst the Commons was hushed, at 
any rate for a time. Becoming Treasurer of England 
in 1360, Langham was Chancellor three years later, and 
in that capacity he declared the cause of summons (in 
the English language) at the opening of more than one 

' Langham's benefactions rendered possible the completion of the 
cloisters and the nave, according to the unfinished designs of Henry III, 
and amounted to nearly a quarter of a million of money at the present 
computation of value. " Rot. Pari., Vol. II, p. 294. 


Parliament. When, in 1366, he was promoted to the 
Archbishopric of Canterbury, he received the pallium 
from the Pope in the Royal Chapel of St. Stephen ; nor 
was this his last connection with the scene of his up- 
bringing. From far-off Avignon, where the closing years 
of his life were spent, his heart always turned to the Isle 
of Thorns beside the Thames, and his body was brought 
back to be buried in the Chapel of St. Benedict, the 
especial resting-place of his Order, where to this day 
his stately monument, happily uninjured by the acci- 
dents of time, is conspicuous among the older eccle- 
siastical tombs in the Abbey over which he formerly 
ruled. The fact that Trussell was buried there at a 
time when the right of interment at Westminster was 
confined, almost without exception, to members of the 
Royal Family and to ecclesiastics of high degree is 
an additional proof, if any were needed, of the bond of 
union which existed between Church and State in the 
days of the Plantagenets. Moreover, Simon Langham, 
though not yet Abbot, was a prominent member of the 
great Benedictine Monastery at least as early as 1346, 
in which year Trussell is believed to have died, and it 
may have been owing to his intervention that a new 
precedent was set when a Parliamentary leader's bones 
were laid to rest at Westminster. 

Amongst the Abbey MSS. there is an entry on the 
Sacrists' Roll of the year 1377-78, at which date Langham 
was dead and had been succeeded by Abbot Litlington, 
which refers to certain floor coverings which had been 
worn out by the fretful feet of the knights and burgesses 
in the course of a recent session. The monks, with the 
care which characterised all their doings, then took 


note of " Mattis pro choro & Capitulo empt 16/8 
quia tempore Parliamenti Mattae erant destructse." 
And, as there appears to be no earlier mention in the 
archives remaining in the custody of the Dean and 
Chapter of similar purchases for the use of the Commons, 
it seems reasonable to assume that the incomparable 
Chapter House, as it was called by Matthew Paris, was 
not habitually used for Parliamentary purposes before 
the middle of the fourteenth century. 

There may have been isolated instances, owing to the 
close connection which existed between Henry III and 
the Abbey of his foundation, in which the Lords and Com- 
mons sitting together as one body assembled somewhere 
within the walls of St. Peter's at the earhest dawn of 
the English Constitution, but all the evidence goes to 
show that the Commons did not finally separate from the 
Lords until Langham sat in the Abbot's seat. 

The removal of the representative Chamber from the 
disturbing influences of the Court to the austerer serenity 
of the Cloister having been found in practice to conduce 
to good order in debate, the Abbey became the usual 
home of the Commons during Litlington's beneficent rule 
in the Isle of Thorns, and entries in the Rolls show that 
they assembled in the Chapter House in 1376, 1377, 13841 
and 1394-95. But the great statute of Praemunire,^ 
which restrained the papal authority in England, was 
not, as supposed by Dean Stanley, enacted at West- 
minster, but at Winchester in the Parliament of 1393. 

In the picturesque language of Sir Walter Besant, there 
lay on the other side of the wall which formed the 
eastern boundary of the Abbey : — 

1 XVI Richard II, c. 5. 


" The Palace, the Court and Camp of the King, a place 
filled with noisy, racketing, even uproarious life. There 
were taverns without the Palace precincts where the 
noise of singing never ceased. There was the clashing of 
weapons ; there were the profane oaths of the soldiers ; 
there was the blare of trumpets ; there were the pipe 
and tabor of the minstrels and the jesters. . . . Only a 
low wall between a world of action and the world of 
prayer." ^ 

Besant emphasises the gloomy side of monastic life 
in the Isle of Thorns, but he might have added, with 
equal truth, that, within the jurisdiction of the Abbot, 
scenes of violence and disorder were of such frequent 
occurrence that for a man "to take Westminster" 
became in after years synonymous with his flight from 

It is one of the boasted advantages of our ParUamentary 
system that the Legislature is powerless to bind its suc- 
cessors, yet William of Colchester, who ruled over the 
Abbey in 1393, could hardly have foreseen that, within 
fifty years of the Commons accepting the shelter of the 
Church, measures limiting the power of its acknowledged 
head, though not within the walls of St. Peter's Monas- 
tery, would be debated and placed on the Statute Book. 

The Chapter House can never have been a very 
suitable place for the sittings of ParUament. It was 
inconveniently situated for the purpose of rapid com- 
munication between the two Houses ; it was required by 
the monks themselves every day of the week, and it is 
probable that the actual number of times when it was used 
by the Commons was much smaller than has been gene- 

1 Westminster, by Sir Walter Besant, 1897 edition, p. 88. 


rally supposed. The use of this particular building may 
only have been extended to the Lower House by Abbots 
Langham, Litlington, and William of Colchester. 

The Speaker would, no doubt, occupy the Abbot's 
stall facing the entrance door ; whilst the knights and 
burgesses seated themselves, as best they could, in the 
eighty stalls of the monks. Late-comers would have to 
be contented with standing-room, though, as the attend- 
ance of the burgesses in the fourteenth century was never 
large and the sessions were of brief duration, no great 
inconvenience may have been caused. To the central 
pillar supporting the roof were attached placards having 
reference to the business to be discussed, though there 
were occasions on which mischievous hands affixed libel- 
lous documents in the same conspicuous position.^ 

But there was another, and even nobler, apartment 
in the monastery in which the Commons of England 
are known to have assembled. This was the great 
Refectory beyond the south cloister walk. Originally of 
Norman construction, it was consumed by fire in 1298, 
but promptly rebuilt, together with other domestic 
offices, under Abbot Langham and his successor. It 
was a rectangular hall of great magnificence, 130 feet 
long, nearly double the length of the existing House 
of Commons, and 38 feet broad. If Pariiament is 
desirous of commemorating its former association with 
the Abbey, it would do well to restore, as far as possible, 
the ruined glories of Litlington's work. Its north wall 
still stands, together with some of the windows and the 
corbels of the roof ; and on its inner face a portion of 
the Norman arcading of the earUer building may still 

» Archeeologia, Vol. XVI, 1812, pp. 80-83. 


be seen. As rebuilt in the fourteenth century, it had a fine 
timber roof, from which hung a crown of Hghts the fall 
of which is mentioned by Caxton. Over the high table 
was a painting of Christ in majesty, an inspiring symbol 
of the union subsisting between Church and State. 

The actual date at which it became ruinous is not 
known, but though the Commons assembled in it in 
1397, 1403-4,1 1414, 1415, and 1416, during the whole 
of which period WiUiam of Colchester was Abbot of 
Westminster, the Rolls are silent as to the actual place 
of meeting after the last-mentioned date. It is almost 
certain that until the dissolution of the monasteries 
they occupied either the Little Hall or the Painted 
Chamber. They removed to St. Stephen's Chapel on its 
becoming vacant in 1547, never again to desert it except 
when directed to assemble at Oxford in the seventeenth 

It would seem that too much importance has hitherto 
been attached to an entry in the Rolls of the year 1376, 
which speaks of the Chapter House as the " ancient 
place " of meeting for the Commons. All that the phrase 
was intended to convey was that, although earlier meet- 
ings had taken place within the Abbey precincts (one of 
them, as has been seen, in the Chapter House during the 
session of 1351-52), a return to the Palace had been 
made in 1368. Therefore, when in 1376 — the year in 
which De la Mare first held an office practically indistin- 
guishable from that of the later Speakers, though there is 
no mention in the Rolls of his having been then elected 

' In 141 3 the knights, citizens, and burgesses were only commanded 
to meet " en lour lieu accustume dens I'Abbeie de Westm" at sept del 
clokke a matyn pour eslier lour Commune Parlour, & de luy presenter 
au Roy a sept del clokke mesme le jour." — Rot. Pari., Vol. IV, p. 3. 


to the Chair by his fellow-members— the King directed 
the Commons to repair once more to the Chapter House, 
the officials whose duty it was to record the proceedings 
of Parhament were only desirous of showing that a pre- 
cedent existed for the alteration in the rendezvous. 

The Rolls do not specify the Chapter House as having 
been used for Parliamentary purposes after 1394-95. 
The Refectory was probably used in its stead until it f eD 
into disrepair ; but after the great fire in the Palace, 
which occurred in 1512, the chamber used by the Com- 
mons was found to be so inconvenient as to necessitate 
a temporary removal to Black Friars, and it was there, 
and not at Westminster, that Sir Thomas More was 
chosen Sf)eaker in 1523.^ 

Whilst the Lords adhered to one of the chambers in 
the King's Palace, there may have been occasions when 
both Houses assembled in Westminster Hall in obedi- 
ence to the King's summons. But there can be no doubt 
that after the middle of the fourteenth century the usual 
practice was for both bodies to deliberate apart and to 
transact business separately with each other and with 
the King. In 1362 the opening speech was for the first 
time delivered in English, though for long after the 
records continued to be kept in Norman-French. 

In the " Good Parhament," which met at Westminster 
28 April, 1376, the names of 117 members are known, of 
whom 73 sat for counties, and 44 for boroughs and cities. 
The foremost man returned to it was Sir Peter de la 

• The Rolls in 1351-52 have an interesting note on the hour of 
meeting of the Commons in Plantagenet times. They were then 
directed to assemble in the Painted Chamber, " toust apres le soleil 
lever," a custom which it is sincerely to be hoped will not be revived 
in the twentieth century. 


Mare, Knight of the Shire for Hereford, and Seneschal to 
Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, a connection which 
intensified the animosity of his relations to the House 
of Lancaster.^ 

Edward III, when well stricken in years, had fallen 
under the baneful influence of Ahce Ferrers, a squire's 
daughter whose rapacity and shamelessness as the King's 
mistress-in-chief is only paralleled by some of the especial 
favourites of Charles II and George IV. In one year the 
King, in his senile infatuation, spent many thousands 
of the public money in settling her jeweller's bill, besides 
making her large grants of land and constituting her the 
guardian of several rich orphans. ^ It became expedient 
for ambitious nobles to stand well with her, and even 
John of Gaunt took up her cause against the Black 
Prince. The financial exigencies of the Sovereign were 
now great, and the public dissatisfaction increased rapidly 
after the loss of all England's French possessions with 
the exception of Calais, Bordeaux, and Bayonne. The 
Commons grew uneasy concerning Alice's influence with 
the King, and when, emboldened by the success of her 
political intrigues, she appeared in Westminster Hall, 
and presumed to lecture the presiding judge on the 
duties of his ofiice, the patience of the House was ex- 
hausted. In a long game of give-and-take between 
De la Mare and the King's mistress the former scored 
the first point when he discovered that Ahce was married 

• De la Mare was a man " fearless of consequences in an age of 
violence, one whose spirit imprisonment could not bend nor threats 
overpower." — Trevelyan's England in the Age of Wycliffe, 1899. 

2 It is said that this insatiable traviata was with Edward III in his 
last moments, and that she even stole the rings from his fingers when 
he lay at the point of death. 


and bore the legal title of Baroness of Windsor. The 
King swore that he knew nothing of the marriage, and 
Alice was expelled from Court. Moreover, in order to 
humour the Commons he gave his assent to an Ordinance 
whereby any woman thenceforward, and especially Alice 
Ferrers, was forbidden to prosecute the suits of others in 
Courts of Justice, by way of maintenance.'^ 

After protracted debates, both by themselves and in 
conjunction with the Lords, the Commons appeared in 
full Parhament with De la Mare at their head. His 
first duty was to answer the usual demand for money, 
made to the Lower House on this occasion by the Chan- 
cellor, Sir John Knyvet. Not only did De la Mare take 
upon himself to refuse supphes until the grievances of the 
nation were redressed, but he adopted the financial posi- 
tion as the text for a sermon on the required reforms. 

Edward the Black Prince now lay a-dying at the Abbot 
of Westminster's manor-house of Neyte, in what is now 
Pimlico, and it was known that it was John of Gaunt's 
intention to secure for himself the succession to the 
throne. In the subsequent proceedings of the House, 
perhaps the most interesting to that date, De la Mare 
voiced the opinion of a nation more than he represented 
the views of any one party. He was, in fact, more of 
a Parliamentary autocrat, combining in his personality 
many of the attributes of Pym and Lenthall, than the 
mouthpiece of the Commons, and the Parliament which 
he dominated resembled, more perhaps than any of its 
successors down to the Revolution of 1688, the Parlia- 
ment of to-day in the extent of its powers. In 1376 
the Commons proceeded to impeach Lord Latimer, thus 

1 Hallam's Middle Ages, edition of 1834, Vol. Ill, p. 83. 


affording the earliest recorded instance of a Minister of 
the Crown being arraigned by the Lower House. 

For a time the fortunes of the contest inchned to the 
side of the reforming party in the Commons. But with 
the death of the Black Prince the supreme power once 
more fell into the hands of John of Gaunt, and a change 
quickly came over the scene. Alice Perrers reappeared 
openly at Court, De la Mare was imprisoned, without 
trial, in Nottingham Castle, and would have been put 
to death if the King's mistress could have had her way. 
Wykeham was deprived of his temporalities on a frivolous 
charge and banished from the precincts of the palace. 

The new Parliament was controlled by John of Gaunt, 
who, by putting pressure upon the sheriffs, was able prac- 
tically to pack the House with men of his own choosing. 
Yet some of De la Mare's old fellow-members managed 
to secure re-election, and though they promptly peti- 
tioned for his release, counter influences were too strong 
for them. One of the first acts of the reactionary 
assembly of 1376-77, usually known as the " Bad 
Parliament," was to reverse the sentence against Alice 

From the point of view of the Constitutional historian 
the Parliament is a memorable one, since in it the Speaker's 
of&ce first emerged from the twilight which shrouds its 
origin into the full Hght of day. Summoned at the close 
of a year in which a King of England celebrated the 
jubilee of his reign, the House of Commons, for the 
first time in its history, is known to have been repre- 
sented at Westminster by a presiding officer of its own 
choice. Sir Thomas Hungerford,. specified in the Rolls 
as having " les paroles pour les Communes d'Engleterre 


From a lirmvitig in the National Portyait Gallery 


en cest Parlement," made a daring speech to the throne 
at the close of the session, calling the King's attention 
to various grievances and alleged infringements of the 
liberties of his subjects, both male and female. 

This, the first recorded utterance of the House of 
Commons to find pubhc expression through the mouth 
of its responsible president, has been strangely over- 
looked by Parhamentary historians, as has also the 
interesting fact that Hungerford, on the same occasion, 
delivered seven " BiUes " to the Clerk of the ParUament, 
to which, alas for the budding hopes of the representa- 
tives of the people, the Lords vouchsafed no reply, 
" a cause q le dit Parlement s'estoit departiz & finiz 
a mesme le jour devant q rienz y fust plus fait a 

Sir Thomas Hungerford was the head of the powerful 
Wiltshire family which owned Farleigh Castle. Like 
Chaucer's Frankleyn, " full oft tyme he was a Knight 
of the Schire," for his career at Westminster extended 
over thirty-six years. He died in 1398, and was buried 
at Farleigh Himgerford, in Somerset, where his tomb 
and a portrait in a stained-glass window are still to be 

On the death of the King, a new Parhament was called 
by Richard II, in October, and De la Mare, again the 
most prominent figure in the popular assembly, was 
voted to the Chair. The sentence of the Good Parha- 
ment against Alice Ferrers was re-enacted and the power 
of John of Gaunt was finally broken.^ 

De la Mare again represented Herefordshire in 1379-80, 

1 See frontispiece to this volume. 
» Rot. Pari., Vol. Ill, p. S- 


1382, and 1383, after which date his name disappears 
from the page of history, nor has the year of his death 
been ascertained. 

Sir James Pickering, the head of a great Westmorland 
family, became Speaker in 1378.^ His speech, asserting 
the right of free speech and declaring the loyalty of the 
House to the throne, remains upon the Rolls and is the first 
of its kind on record. It is interesting at the present day 
to recall the fact that Speaker Pickering's wife was a 
Lowther. To him succeeded Sir John Guildesborough, 
Knight of the Shire for Essex, in the Parliament which 
met at Northampton on 5 November, 1380. This Speaker 
set an important precedent which, to a certain extent, 
foreshadowed the modern procedure in Committee of 
Supply. He demanded of the Crown that a schedule of 
the exact sums needed, and the purposes for which they 
were required, should be laid before the Commons. Thus 
the annually recurring phrase in the King's speech 
" estimates for the expenditure of the year wiU in due 
course be laid before you," is the logical outcome of a 
procedure adopted more than five hundred years ago. 

The Eastern Counties also supplied the next Speaker, 
Sir Richard Waldegrave of Smallbridge, Suffolk, ancestor 
of the present Earl Waldegrave. He begged to be 
excused from accepting the post, but the King charged 
him on his allegiance that since he was already chosen by 
his colleagues he should execute the office. His is the 
first instance of a Speaker declining appointment, and 
for generations after his day a similar formal excuse 
was put forward, only to be refused, nor was the pre- 

•^ " Monsieur James de Pekeryng Chivaler, q'avoit les paroles de 
la coe faisant sa Protestation si bien pur lui mesmes come pur toute 
la Coi^ d'Engl illoeq's assemble." — Rot. Pari., Vol. Ill, p. 34. 

^. — r- 



J^roiit a drawing by Stanley Xorth of the 

nununn-ntal effigy in the chapel at Farleigh 



cedent set in 1381 broken until the reign of Charles II, 
when Sir Edward Seymour, who had been chosen 
against the King's wish, merely said, on presenting 
himself for approval in the House of Lords : " The House 
of Commons have unanimously elected me their Speaker, 
and now I come hither for Your Majesty's approbation, 
which if Your Majesty will please to grant, I shall do 
them and you the best service I can." The Chancellor 
had been instructed to express the King's acceptance of 
the customary excuse, but the Speaker's unexpected 
utterance took him so aback that he could only falter out 
that the King wished to reserve him for other services and 
desired that the Commons would make another choice. 
After a heated discussion and a prorogation a compromise 
was arrived at, but the important principle was estab- 
hshed that the Crown has a right to veto, but not to 
dictate, the Commons' choice. 

Sir Richard Waldegrave's motive, as far as it is possible 
to analyse it, appears to have been a prudential one. Grave 
disputes were likely to arise between Parliament and the 
people respecting the enfranchisement of the villeins to 
whom Richard II had lately granted charters of freedom. 
But as the King contended that these charters had been 
extorted from him when he was not seized of his full 
kingly power, he ultimately revoked them. Waldegrave 
may have been apprehensive of the consequences likely 
to result from this evasion,.hence his desire to be reheved 
of the post.^ 

From 1383, when Pickering was called to the Chair for 
the second time, the Rolls of Parhament are defective for 

1 See the Scrope and Grosvenor Roll, Vol. II, p. 374. and Rot. Pari., 
Vol. Ill, p. loo. 


about ten years, though it is highly probable that he 
again acted as Speaker in one or other of the Parhaments 
held in 1384, 1388, 1389-90, 1390, and 1397-98, in all of 
which he is known to have sat for Yorkshire. 

The last, and in some respects the most notorious of 
Plantagenet Speakers was Sir John Bussy, or Bushey, the 
first man to be twice elected to the Chair, and also the 
first to be alluded to by Shakespeare.^ He represented 
Lincolnshire (where his family owned land at a place 
called Grentewell, at Domesday), between 1383 and 1397- 
98. He was first chosen Speaker in 1393-94, re-elected in 
January, 1396-97, and again in September, 1397.^ During 
his second term of office occurred the important case of 
Privilege arising out of the trial of Sir Thomas Haxey, 
a prebendary of Southwell and proctor of the Clergy 
attending Parliament. Haxey introduced a Bill or rather 
an article in a Bill complaining of maladministration, and 
making specific charges of extravagance against the King* 
Richard II, when he heard of it, called upon the 
Speaker to give up the name of the person responsible for 
the introduction of the obnoxious measure. The Commons 
were alarmed and made a scapegoat of Haxey. He was 
adjudged a traitor and condemned to death, his trial 
taking place in the Salle Blanche of the Palace. He was 
eventually pardoned, and in Henry IV's first Parliament 
the judgment was formally reversed. Haxey, who was 
an ecclesiastical pluralist of an extreme type, became 
Treasurer of York and was a benefactor to the Cathedral, 
in which he was buried in 1425. 

* He is styled " Commune Parlour " in the Rolls. 

* He was probably Speaker also in the twenty-third Parliament of 
Richard II. 1394-95 ; but the Rolls are defective at that period. 


Hakewil calls Bussy " a special minion to the King," 
but this appears to have been a prejudiced opinion. On 
the landing of Henry, Duke of Lancaster, at Ravenspur, 
where the whole countryside greeted him with acclama- 
tion, Bussy took possession of the Castle at Bristol with 
others of Richard's ministers. 

" To Bristol Castle, which they say is held by Bussy, 
Bagot and their complices." ^ 

A little later in the same play Shakespeare writes 
slightingly of him as — 

" A caterpUlar of this Commonwealth which I ^ have 
sworn to weed and pluck away." 

On the surrender of Bristol to the invader, Bussy, with 
the Lord Treasurer (Wilham Le Scrope, Earl of Wiltshire), 
and Sir Henry Green were executed without trial,* as the 
first act of the new dynasty. Thus, with the possible 
exception of Peter de Montfort, whose end is somewhat 
of a mystery, the last of the Plantagenet Speakers was 
also the first to die a violent death, a fate which, as subse- 
quent chapters will show, was to befall many of his suc- 
cessors in the Chair of the Commons. Within six weeks 
of Bussy's murder Henry reached London, bringing 
Richard with him captive, and took up his abode in 
St. John's Priory in Clerkenwell. 

On 29 September, the day before the intended meeting 
of Parliament, he had an interview with his cousin in the 
Tower. Having obtained from him the crown and 
sceptre, the outward symbols of kingship which counted 
for so much with the populace, he hurriedly deposited 

1 Shakespeare, Richard II, act ii, scene 3, line 164. 
» Bolingbroke. ^ 29 July, 1399. 


them in the treasury of Westminster Abbey, now usually 
known as the Chapel of the Pyx. 

This ancient building, which should not be confused 
with the Royal Jewel House of which there is an illus- 
tration in this book, undoubtedly formed part of the 
Confessor's foundation. It makes the proud claim, in 
common with an adjoining apartment long used as the 
gymnasium of Westminster School, to be the oldest 
building in London. Henry III spared it when he pulled 
down the Confessor's Church, and in it, or in the under- 
croft of the Chapter House hard by, the kings of England 
kept the regalia and other treasures, of which a hst is 
given by Dean Stanley. The advantage of having more 
than one such treasure-house — and if the Jewel Tower 
is reckoned there were three in close proximity to one 
another — is obvious ; because an intending thief would 
be unaware in which, for the moment, the royal 
wealth lay hid. But the utmost secrecy will not avail 
against treachery from within, and in 1303 the Chapel 
of the Pyx, or, as some think, the undercroft, was 
the scene of a great robbery. The sacristan of the Abbey 
and two monks were involved in the rifling of the treasury 
by one Richard Podlicote, who contrived by their help to 
force an entrance and to carry off articles of priceless 
value. A jury empanelled to investigate the crime found 
that Master William Torel, the famous English sculptor 
who made the ef&gies of Henry III and Eleanor which 
are still to be seen in the Abbey, bought two ruby rings in 
good faith from the thief, and the sacristan was found to 
have in his possession a bowl of unknown value which he 
could not account for. The manner of PodUcote's 
punishment is not certainly known, though it was long 


believed that he was flayed alive. Some fragments of 
human skin adhering to one of the doors leading out of 
the east cloister walk have been thought to be his, though 
within the recollection of the present writer these remains, 
if human, indeed, they be, were confidently stated to have 
been portions of the skin of a Dane, executed as a terror to 
evil-doers at an even earlier date. The probabihty is that 
both stories are apocryphal. Towards the close of his ill- 
starred reign Richard II, who throughout his life had a 
graceful passion for extravagance, practically rebuilt 
Westminster Hall in the shape in which it now stands. 
Even the names of the royal craftsmen employed upon 
it are known. Robert Brassington made the shield- 
bearing angels of the incomparable roof. Wilham Burgh 
filled the great window with " flourished glass " — would 
that it had escaped the ravages of time — and William 
Cleuderre sculptured some of the images of " grave 
kings" which still stand at the upper end of the hall.^ 
By the irony of fate, no sooner was the vast building 
finished than it became the scene of Richard's deposition. 
For in Westminster Hall Henry of Lancaster, aided by 
the dignitaries of the Church, including the Abbot of 
Westminster, came forward to " challenge the realm of 
England " on the last day of September, 1399. ^ Amongst 
the Harleian MSS. in the British Museum,^ the collection of 
which England owes to a Speaker to be mentioned here- 
after, is a representation by a Frenchman named Creton 
(who accompanied Richard on his last journey to Ireland), 
of the great hall as it appeared on this momentous day. 

1 The south porch was added by Sir Charles Barry after the great 
fire of 1834. 

" Rot. Pari., Vol. Ill, p. 422. ' No. 13 19, P- S7- 


It shows the throne at the upper end unoccupied — 
" sede regali cum pannis Auri solempnitur prseposita 
tunc vacua." ^ 

Nearest to the throne stands Henry of Lancaster wear- 
ing a high-crowned cap of fur. On the right of the picture 
are grouped the spiritual, and, on the left, the temporal 
Lords and the Knights. AU appear to be actual portraits, 
while the figures of two men in the foreground would 
seem, from their dress to be officials. Neither of them can 
have been intended to represent the Speaker, for with 
Bussy dead, no presiding officer of the Commons existed. 
For two hundred years untU that September day the 
doctrine of hereditary right to the throne had been 
preserved without interruption, but now in Richard's 
newly finished hall, far surpassing Rufus' original building 
and adorned from end to end with the white hart, the 
badge of his adoption, amidst a shout of acclamation 
which made the rafters ring, the Plantagenet d57nasty 
passed away and a new era opened for England and for 

* See reproduction of this curious painting in this volume. 

* William Rufus and Henry I had obtained the throne in prejudice 
of the claims of their elder brother, Robert. Stephen had been advanced 
to the same dignity, contrary to every opinion of hereditary succession. 
John had been crowned in opposition to the claims of Arthur (the son 
of his elder brother) ; but from that time till the usurpation of Henry 
IV the principle of heredity had been strictly observed. 




Thirty Speakers 

John Cheyne 
John Dorewood 
Arnold Savage 
Henry Redford 
WilUam Esturmy 
John Tiptoft 
Thomas Chaucer 
William Stourton 
Walter Hungerford 
Richard Redman 
Walter Beauchamp 
Roger Flower 
Roger Hunt 
Richard Baynard 
John Russell 

Thomas Walton 
Richard Vernon 
John Tyrrell 
William Alington 
John Bowes 
William Burley 
William Tresham 
John Say 
John Popham 
William Oldhall 
Thomas Thorpe 
Thomas Charlton 
John Wenlock 
Thomas Tresham 
John Green 

WITH almost indecent haste Henry of Lan- 
caster, after usurping the throne, pro- 
ceeded to consolidate his position. The 
Parliament of Richard had come to an end 
with the abdication of the King, and within a week 
Henry issued writs for a new one returnable in six 



days. These were not, and indeed could not be, com- 
plied with ; but the same members who had deposed 
Richard met on 6 October and fixed the date of the 
usurper's coronation for eight days later. ^ Henry dis- 
tributed the great offices of State amongst his personal 
friends, though little or no change seems to have been 
made in the composition of the judicial bench. 

Proceeding from the Tower, where Richard was detained 
in close custody, on a triumphal progress through London, 
Henry slept for the first time in the Palace of West- 
minster on the night of 12 October, 1399.* On the 
following day he was crowned in the Abbey, with all 
the ancient ceremonial proper to the occasion, and 
exactly one year after he had fled the country in exile. 
During the Coronation banquet in Westminster Hall 
a fountain in Palace Yard ran continually with red and 
white wine ; and Dymoke, the King's champion, who 
had acted the same part at Richard's accession, rode into 
the Hall and challenged any man to appear who dared 
maintain that Henry was not a lawful Sovereign. 

The choice of the Commons for their Speaker feU upon 
Sir John Cheyne, or Cheney, 'Knight of the Shire for 
Gloucester, and on the morrow of the Coronation his 
nomination was approved by the King. But at once a 
hitch arose. For Cheyne was a renegade cleric, more 
than suspected of Lollardy by Archbishop Arimdel, the 
new King's principal adviser at this juncture, and the 

1 13 October. 

' According to Froissart Henry of Lancaster was escorted by a 
cavalcade of 6000 horsemen as he rode bareheaded through the 
crowded streets. Having arrived at Westminster he bathed himself, 
and, on the morrow, confessed, as he had good need to do, hearing 
three masses. 


man who more than any other had been instrumental 
in placing him on the throne. Cheyne only filled the 
chair for two days; and, on his making a convenient 
excuse of infirmity, the Commons elected John Dore- 
wood, Knight of the Shire for Essex, in his stead. : 

Little or nothing is known of this Speaker or his 
family beyond the fact that his father had represented 
the same county in the reign of Edward III ; but it is 
a singular coincidence that on the two occasions on which 
the son was called to the Chair — for he was again Speaker 
in the first Parliament of Henry V — he owed his election 
to the illness of the presiding officer first chosen by the 
Commons. In 1413 he replaced William Stourton, 
Knight of the Shire for Dorset, " being sick in his bed " 
and unable to execute the duties of the office. 

To the despotic incapacity of Richard in his later 
years succeeded the energetic rule of a Sovereign 
driven by necessity to depend — at least, outwardly — 
upon constitutional methods. That this was the oppor- 
tunity of the Commons, and one fully recognised by 
them, events soon showed. But the peculiar circum- 
stances of the time also favoured the consolidation of 
the Peerage, inasmuch as the inheritable right of sum- 
mons was now for the first time conceded in heu of a 
mere summons by custom. If henceforth there could be 
no taxation without consent, legislation was in future to 
be based upon a mutual recognition of the rights of both 
Houses ; and while a remarkable unanimity between 
Lords and Commons prevailed at this period, the right 
of the latter to vote subsidies and to co-operate in legisla- 
tion coincided with the establishment of a permanent 
hereditary chamber acting in civil cases as an ultimate 


Court of Appeal. Whereas Richard had succeeded in 
obtaining the subsidy on wool and a tax on movables 
for life, the first Parhament of Henry IV would not 
grant a subsidy for more than three years. The Parlia- 
ment which assembled at Westminster in January, 1400-1, 
proved more complaisant, and the utmost harmony pre- 
vailed between the two Houses. At the end of the 
session the Commons, addressing the King through the 
mouth of their Speaker, Sir Arnold Savage, sought to 
draw a parallel, more curious than convincing, between 
the achievements of a loyal and united Parliament and 
the observance of the Mass.^ 

Henry IV set an entirely new precedent, and one 
which has never been repeated, when, in 1402, he in- 
vited the Commons to dine with him at the close of the 
session. 2 Sir Henry Redford, Knight of the Shire for 
Lincoln, was Speaker when this novel bid for popularity 
was made. The Earl of Northumberland, in the absence 
of the King's Seneschal, begged the whole of the Lords 
spiritual and temporal, as well as the Commons, to 
assemble on Sunday, 26 November, the business of Parlia- 
ment having come to an end on the previous day, in 
order to enjoy the King's hospitality. The place of meet- 
ing, though not specified in the Rolls, must almost 
certainly have been Westminster Hall, as no other apart- 

1 " Au fyn de chescun messe y Covient de dire : ' Ite missa est ' 
& 'Deo gratias.' " Semblablement les Communes, Cement Us feurent 
Venuz al fyn del messe pur dire : " Ite missa est." Et qu'ils, & tout 
le Roialme, feurent espalement tenuz de dire eel parol : " Deo gratias." 

Rot. Pari., Vol. Ill, p. 466. 

2 In this session also occurred an early instance of the thanks of 
Parliament being awarded to a general (the Earl of Northumberland) 
for his military achievements (Rot. Pari., 16 October, 1402). 


ment in the Palace could have accommodated so large a 
number at a banquet.^ 

Advocates of a single Chamber system will note with 
approval this reunion of the two Houses " en pleine 
Parlement," although in 1402 it was contrived for a 
purely social purpose. It has been thought that by 
somewhat similar means a Government, unsympathetic 
to the hereditary principle, but commanding, as in 1833 
and again in 1906, an overwhelming majority in the Lower 
House, might despite the existing veto of the House of 
Lords ensure the passage of its legislative and financial 
proposals, were the two Chambers or a committee elected 
by both Peers and Commoners to meet as one delibera- 
tive body, in cases where a deadlock has arisen. It 
may strike the impartial student of constitutional 
practice as somewhat surprising that a proposal to 
revert to conditions known to have prevailed under 
the Plantagenets should be seriously entertained in the 
twentieth century, but the fact remains that a return 
to such a method of amicably settling disputes between 
the two Houses has recently found considerable sup- 
port in the country, and that a section of moderate 
opinion inclines to the belief that by some such means 
a final solution of an admitted difficulty may be within 
measurable distance. 

In 1404, when Sir Arnold Savage, Knight of the Shire 
for Kent, and the strongest man who had filled the Chair 
since De la Mare, was again Speaker, the subsidies granted, 

' " Le Cont de Northumberland, en absence du Seneschall de 
I'ostiel du Roi, pria as toutz les Seigneurs Espirituels & Temporelx, 
& as toutz les Communes suis ditz, d'estre le Dymenge ensuant a 
mangier ovesq le Roi nfe Seigneur." Unfortunately no description of 
this unique gathering seems to have been preserved. 


liberal though they were, were voted subject to the novel 
condition that the money raised should be received by 
Treasurers by whose appointment Parhament could feel 
confidence that the suppUes should not be misappro- 
priated. Savage, who has been called " the great com- 
prehensive symbol of the English people," made, on his 
elevation to the Chair, a more elaborate complimentary 
address to the King than any of his predecessors, yet in 
the first of the two Parliaments which Henry called 
in 1404^ he formulated petitions to the effect that 
redress of grievances should precede the granting of 

This uncompromising attitude was due to the fact 
that a modified income-tax was sought to be imposed 
on aU owners of land and house property, and a con- 
temporary historian spoke of the tax as a novel one, 
" galUng to the people and highly oppressive." So 
long as the incidence of taxation was designed to 
fall on commodities, it could be cheerfully borne, but 
when it was applied to individuals a new grievance was 

After a delay of six weeks the Commons consented to 
levy a tax of a shilhng in the pound on land value, but 
only on the understanding that it should not be con- 
strued into a precedent, and that no official record of it 
should be preserved. It reads almost like the twentieth 
century to find this subsidy described by one chroni- 
cler as taxa nova et exquisita, and by another as 
taxa insolita et incolis tricdbilis et valde gravis. Not- 
withstanding the unpopularity of land taxation, it 

1 It met at Westminster, 14 January, 1404, and remained in 
session till the second week in April. 

1400- I, 1403-4 
Fj-,->ii! a brass hi S. Chaiucl of Ii,\'>/>!, 

■■ Churc.'i^ l\\-ut 


was again imposed in a later Parliament at the 
rate of 6s. 8i. on every £20 of income from land. 
A valuation list for the City of London and the suburbs 
was prepared by a Commission over which the Lord 
Mayor presided. It was found that the gross rental 
amounted to ^£4220 divided amongst 11 32 individuals or 
institutions, wlule the actual yield was only £70 6s. 8^. 

Walter Savage Landor, who believed himself to be a 
lineal descendant of Sir Arnold, introduced an ingenious 
duologue between the Speaker and the King on the 
subject of this tax into his Imaginary Conversations : — 

" Henry IV to the Speaker : This morning in another 
place thou declaredst that no subsidy should be 
granted me until every cause of public grievance 
was removed." 

To which Savage diplomatically made answer : 

" I am now in the house of the greatest man upon 
earth. I was then in the house of the greatest 

Henry then went on to say : 

" I raised up the House of Commons four years ago, 
and placed it in opposition to my barons, with 
trust and confidence that I might be less hampered 
in my complete conquest of France. . . . Parlia- 
ment speaks too plainly and steps too stoutly for 
a creature of four years' growth." 

Savage : 

" God forbid that any King of England should 
achieve the conquest of all France ! " 


A little later he advises the King " to keep the hearts 
of his subjects. . . ." 

" Wars are requisite to diminish the power of your 
barons by keeping them long and widely separate 
from the main body of retainers." 

" In general they^ are the worthless exalted by the 
weak, and dangerous from wealth ill acquired and 
worse expended." 

" The whole people is a good King's household, 
quiet and orderly when well treated, and ever in 
readiness to defend him against the malice of the 
disappointed, the perfidy of the ungrateful, and 
the usurpation of the familiar. Act in such guise, 
and I will promise you the enjoyment of a blessing 
to which the conquest of France in comparison is 
as a broken flagstaff — self-approbation in govern- 
ment and security in power." 

On which the King declared that he wished he could 
make the Speaker a peer.^ Savage was a party to 
the passing of the famous enactment, " De hseretico 
comburendo," which first made rehgious error an 
offence against the statute law. It had been a punish- 
able offence before, since a renegade clerk was con- 
demned by the Church court in 1222, and then handed 
over to the secular arm to be burnt. Even Sawtre 
was burnt in 1401, before "De hseretico comburendo" 
was passed. 

This was the statute which Gardiner and Bonner 
found so convenient during the Marian persecution of 
150 years later. In his second Speakership Savage 

1 The Barons. 

' Walter Savage Landor's Imaginary Conversations, 1826, Vol. I, 
p. 41. 


demanded from the King the dismissal of several officers 
of the household and many of the Queen's retinue.^ 

Henry's sixth Parliament, summoned to meet at 
Coventry, 6 October, 1404, was presided over by Sir 
Wilham Esturmy, of Wolf Hall, near Maiden Bradley, 
Wilts, now the property of the Duke of Somerset. 
Esturmy's family intermarried with that of St. Maur, and 
the Dukes of Somerset quarter his coat of arms to this 
day. The main work of the Coventry Parliament was 
the attempted spoliation of the Church, and it fell to 
Esturmy's lot to carry a proposal to the King that the 
clergy should contribute largely to the expenses of the 
realm. As a compromise they granted the King a tenth 
and a half of their revenues. 

The next Speaker on the roll. Sir John Tiptoft, whose 
tenure of the Chair was marked by a perceptible increase 
in the power of the Commons, and by repressive measures 
against the Lollards, was the first to enter what Pulteney, 
in the eighteenth century, called " that hospital for 
invalids," the House of Peers. " My Lord Bath," said 
Walpole, on meeting his old opponent in the Upper 
House, "you and I have now become two of the 
most insignificant fellows in England ! " Summoned 
as Baron Tiptoft in 1426, his son was created Earl 
of Worcester in 1449 ; but the precedent of conferring 
a peerage upon the Speaker was not renewed for many 
years. Tiptoft spoke more boldly to the King and to 
the Peers than any of his predecessors in the Chair 
of the Commons. He even told the King that, though 

^ Savage was also a considerable landowner in Cheshire, where he 
owned Frodsham Castle, and his name is perpetuated in one of the 
minor titles of the Marquesses of Cholmondeley. 


his title to the crown was less worthy of respect, his 
household expenses were in excess of any previous 

The Speaker's eldest son, another John Tiptoft, has 
been confused by Hakewil with his father. The Earl of 
Worcester, who earned the lasting hatred of his country- 
men for the ruthless severity with which he repressed 
the opponents of Edward IV, deserves separate mention at 
our hands. A willing instrument of the usurper's scheme 
of revenge, the younger Tiptoft was destined to be far 
more powerful under the White Rose than ever his 
father had been under the Red. On the outbreak 
of the Civil Wars he had betaken himself to the 
Holy Land, only returning to England after the 
battle of Towton had secured the crown for his patron. 
The flower of the English nobility had poured out 
their blood at Towton to an extent altogether unpre- 
cedented ; but, when the semblance of peace had been 
restored to a distracted country, Worcester found con- 
genial work awaiting him. 

Proceeding on the Machiavellian principle of extirpating 
the King's foes as the only effective means of rendering 
them harmless, he tried and condemned in his Con- 
stable's Court within the Palace of Westminster so many 
of the Lancastrian party as gained him the odious sobri- 
quet of the "Butcher of England."^ When the head- 
man's axe had been blunted by constant use during his 
reign of terror, he ordered some of Warwick's followers 
who fell into his power at Southampton in March, 1470, 

1 In the I Henry IV (1399) the Constable of England had apart- 
ments assigned to him in the " Inner Palace " of Westminster {Sot. 
Pari., Ill, p. 452). 

From a moniinicnial t^f'Sy ^^ E,ly Cathedral 


to be impaled, contrary to any known law of England. 
But the day of retribution was near. In October of the 
same year Edward was dispossessed and Henry tempo- 
rarily restored. Thenceforth there could be little hope 
or chance of life for the Jeffreys of the fifteenth century. 
Arraigned in the White Hall of the Palace before the 
Earl of Oxford, who had been appointed Constable for 
the purpose, the Speaker's son, who in that same court 
had sent his Judge's father and brother to the block, 
was now condemned to die a traitor's death on Tower 

The last Speaker of the reign was the bearer of a famous 
name. Had Geoffrey Chaucer, the father of English 
poetry, lived only a few more years than he did, he 
would have seen his son chosen Speaker of the House of 
Commons, in which he had himself served as Knight 
of the Shire for Kent. Thomas Chaucer, Geoffrey's 
son, was a Westminster man in the fullest sense 
of the word, for his father lived in Old Palace Yard 
in a house demolished to make room for Henry VII's 
Chapel. A man of great wealth,^ which his father 
certainly was not, he owned considerable landed pro- 
perty at Ewelme, in Oxfordshire, where he was buried 
in 1434 in a tomb of great magnificence described by 
Leland in his Itinerary. 

His only daughter and heiress, Alice, married, as her 
third husband, William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, a 
politician as ambitious as he was incompetent, who, 
after being virtually Prime Minister of England, was 

1 His wealth was derived in part from the office of Chief Butler to 
the King, which he held for many years. His predecessor, Tiptoft, 
enjoyed the same lucrative post. 


impeached, and subsequently murdered, in 1450. The 
fact that the Duchess of Suffolk is described on her 
tombstone as " Serenissima Principessa" has led to a 
belief that Thomas Chaucer was an illegitimate son of 
John of Gaunt, and not Geoffrey's son, but, in the 
opinion of many competent authorities, the inscription 
on the Duchess' tomb is a forgery of later date. 

Thomas Chaucer was Speaker on no less than five 
separate occasions,^ in 1407, 1409-10, 1411, 14141 and in 
the next reign, in 142 1. During his first tenure of 
the Chair the Commons gained the inalienable right of 
initiating money grants, though not without a struggle. 
In the ParUament held at Gloucester ^ they were re- 
quired to send twelve of their number to report on the 
questions propounded to them for a huge increase of 
taxation, and to give in their answer by deputation. 

Protesting as they did against this procedure as being 
an infringement of their privileges, the Declaration of 
Gloucester, entered on the Rolls, laid down once and for 
all that money grants, proceeding as they do from the 
free will of Parliament, must not be hampered by the 
personal intervention of the Crown in Council, whUst the 
Commons claimed a precedence in finance in so far as the 
Lords were required to assent to the money grants of the 
representatives of the people, instead of the process being 
reversed. But this was not tantamount to saying that 
it was beyond the power of the Lords to refuse their assent 
or to revise the methods by which the money was to be 

The King, who was nothing if not a diplomatist, knew 

• Manning, in his Lives of the Speakers, 185 1, p. 50, says, in 
error, that he was only chosen four times. ^ October, 1407. 

<;. FLshey. dell. Day &■ Son, lUho. 


1407, 1409-10, 141 I, 1414^ I42I 

From a print of the Memorial Brass in 

Eweline Church, Ox/ordshij-e 


exactly when to give way, and in 1407 he succeeded in 
pleasing both parties to the dispute : the Lords by his 
permission to deliberate, even in his absence, on the 
state of the realm and the appropriate remedies ; the 
Commons by conceding the principle that no report of a 
money grant should henceforth be made to the Crown 
until both Houses were agreed on its terms, such report 
then to be delivered only by the mouth of their Speaker. ^ 

In this connection it should be borne in mind that all 
Bills granting suppHes to the Crown are, after third 
reading in the Lords, returned to the custody of the 
Commons (unlike other Bills, which are retained by the 
Lords pending the Royal Assent), and are taken up by 
the Speaker when the Commons are summoned to the 
Lords to hear the Royal Assent given. If, on such 
an occasion, the King should be present in person, 
the Speaker addresses the Sovereign on the principal 
measures awaiting his assent, not forgetting to mention 
the supplies which have been granted by the Lower 
branch of the legislature. 

Having obtained all the money he wanted, the King did 
not caU Parliament together again until January, 1409-10. 
By this time Archbishop Arundel, the greatest enemy 
the Lollards ever had, had retired from the Chancellor- 
ship, and the reformers must have secured a majority 
in the new House, for the first act of the Commons was 

* The original words of this famous Declaration are worth quoting : 
" Purveux toutes foitz qe les Seigneurs de lour part, ne les Communes 
de la leur, ne facent ascun report a fire dit S' le Roy d'ascunt grant p' 
les Communes grantez, & p' les Seigneurs assentuz, ne de les Com- 
munications du dit Graunt, aviunt ce qe mesme les Seigneurs & 
Communes soient d'un assent & d'un accord en celle paxtie & adouges 
en manore & forme com" il est accustomez, c'est assever p' bouche de 
Purparlour de la dite Commune par le temps estant.'' 


to reverse their former attitude of hostility towards the 
Anti-Clerical movement. They now recommended to 
the King the wholesale confiscation of Church lands, but 
this revolutionary proposal was not destined to receive 
the Royal Assent. Though the Houses continued in 
session until May, no great constitutional change marked 
their labours.^ 

Shortly before his death, the last subsidy voted to him 
having nearly expired, Henry called another Parliament ; 
but in consequence of his serious illness no formal 
opening took place, and therefore no choice of a Speaker. 
On 20 March, 1413, the King died in the Jerusalem 
Chamber at Westminster, whither he had been carried 
by the monks after he had fallen down in a swoon before 
the shrine of the Confessor. 

The short reign of Henry V, the greatest soldier of his 
age, was also the shortest since the Norman Conquest. 
Yet in nine years of, for the most part, glorious strife. 
Parliamentary institutions saw considerable development. 
This period has usually been associated with military 
achievement rather than with Constitutional progress. 
Yet, in 1414, when a Hungerford was again called to 
the Chair ^ and the Lower House met in the " Fermerie " 
at Leicester, the King granted to his Commons a boon 
which they had long desired. This was to the effect that 
their petitions, which now, for the first time, were be- 

1 Or those of the succeeding Parliament of 141 1, in which Chaucer 
was Speaker for the third time. 

* Sir Walter (son of the Speaker of 1 377), created Lord Hungerford 
in 1425-26 and buried in Salisbury Cathedral in 1449, where his 
mutilated brass is still to be seen with its stone slab powdered with 
sickles, the favourite device of this family before crests came into 
general use. 

^c/nicMclu: dell. J, Uasirt. Snr.'fl. 



I-or,ncrly in the North side 0/ the nave of Snlishury Cathedral 

Reproduced from Gou^h's ^^ Sepulchral Monuments" 


ginning to be replaced by bills/ should in future be 
engrossed as statutes, without garbling or alteration of 
any kind by way of addition or diminution, after passing 
from their control. And whilst the King maintained 
unimpaired the prerogative of refusing the Commons 
petitions outright, he could henceforward only accept 
them in the shape in which they were presented by 
the Speaker for the royal approval. ^ 

Sir Walter Hungerford, apart from his Parliamentary 
career, fought bravely against the French, and, as if 
something of the military ardour of the King had ani- 
mated his faithful Commons, the bold spectacle is next 
presented of a Speaker^ buckling on his sword and 
armour, accompanying his Sovereign to the war, and 
fighting by his side at Agincourt. In domestic politics 
Henry's chief aim was to reassert the authority of the 
Church, and in his determination to crush the Lollards 
he was assisted once more by Archbishop Arundel, to 
whom repression of the reformers was a congenial task. 
Oldcastle, the most conspicuous of the anti-clerical party, 
was excommunicated, and after evading capture for four 
years, was dragged before ParUament as an outlaw, and 
summarily drawn, hanged, and burned at the New 
GaUows beyond the Temple Gate. Roger Flower of 
Oakham, Knight of the Shire for Rutland, was Speaker 
when the Commons petitioned for his execution. 

* Langland, indeed, in "Piers Plowman," written in 1362, makes 
use of the word "bill," though scarcely in the strict Parliamentary 

' Rot. Pari., Vol. IV, p. 22, where the Commons are described in an 
interesting passage as "Assentirs as well as Peticioners," as being 
desirous of " Axkjoige remedie of any mischief by the mouthe of their 
Speaker," and as having ever been a " membre of your Parlement." 

' Once again Thomas Chaucer. 


Sir Walter Beauchamp, who sat for Wiltshire, had been 
Flower's predecessor. Little is known of him beyond the 
fact of his being the first lawyer to be chosen by the Com- 
mons themselves for this high office. But having once 
chosen a lawyer for their President, the Commons soon re- 
newed their preference for the long robe. In Henry V's 
ninth Parliament,^ Roger Hunt of Chalverston, Beds, 
Knight of the Shire for the County, an eminent lawyer, 
and in 1438 Baron of the Exchequer, was called to the 
Chair. To him succeeded Thomas Chaucer, for the fifth 
time, in 1421. 

One further Parliament was called by Henry V before 
his early death. It was summoned solely to provide the 
money necessary for the prosecution of the war with 
France, and, in the King's absence, the Duke of Glou- 
cester, as regent, issued the summons for it to meet at 
Westminster.^ The length of the session has not been 
definitely ascertained, but it is known that the new 
Speaker was Richard Baynard, a member of an old 
East Anglian family who had intermarried with the 

The last of the Lancastrian kings was also the weakest. 
Henry VI, an amiable imbecile with a saving seiise of piety, 
as testified by the foundation of his " holy shade " at Eton, 
was completely overshadowed by the superior force of cha- 
racter of his wife.* Whenhe came to be of legal agein 1442,^ 

* December, 1420. 
' December, 1421. 

' Baynard represented Essex from 1405-6 until 1433. For a 
pedigree of his family see Morant's Essex, Vol. II, pp. 176, 404. 

* Margaret of Anjou. 

^ Dmring his minority the Dukes of Bedford and Gloucester carried 
on the government. 



it was evident to thoughtful men that all the advantages 
gained by his illustrious father were in danger of being 
lost. During the early years of the King's minority, the 
Chair of the Commons was filled by Sir John Russell, a 
member of a family which has played a prominent part 
in the pohtical history of this country, especially since 
the acquisition of the Woburn property at the dissolution 
of the monasteries. The Russells had no connection 
with the county of Bedford in the fifteenth century, and 
the Speaker of 1423 and 1432 sat for Herefordshire. 
Attempts have been made to derive the descent of the 
first Earl of Bedford ^ from the Speaker of Henry VI, 
but it seems probable that the pedigrees contained in the 
earlier editions of Sir Bernard Burke's Peerage are fabulous. 
The rise of the younger branch of the Russell family was 
really due to! the successful commercial operations of a 
fishmonger at Poole, in the county of Dorset. One of 
the junior branch of this ancient race became Knight of 
the Shire in 1472, but the fortunes of the family were 
accidentally consolidated when Joanna of Castille landed 
at Weymouth in 1506, and was entertained at Wolfeton, 
near Dorchester, by Sir Thomas Trenchard, until the 
Earl of Arundel, who had been sent by Henry VH to 
escort her to Windsor, arrived. Sir Thomas summoned 
his kinsman, Mr. Russell, to help him to entertain his 
royal visitor, because he was the only gentleman of his 
acquaintance in the county who could speak Spanish. 
This Mr. Russell, having been introduced to Henry VII, 
who quickly discerned his merits and promise of future 
usefulness, became the first Earl of Bedford, and was the 
direct ancestor of the present Duke. 

' So created in 1550. 


The Dictionary of National Biography states that Sir 
John Russell was again chosen Speaker in 1450, but this 
is not accurate, as Sir William OldhaU was then called 
to the Chair. During Sir John's second term of office 
in 1432, an important concession was obtained by 
the Commons. The King, we read, " released the 
subsidy granted in the last Parliament on lands and 
tenements, so as it should never be mentioned again." 
The imposition of a land tax on the subject was then 
not only regarded by all parties as a thing too monstrous 
and unjust ever to be reimposed, but the work of one 
Parliament was deUberately reversed by its successor. 

The Parliament which met in 1425 was presided over 
by Sir Thomas Walton, who had sat in the House of 
Commons for nearly thirty years, sometimes for Hunting- 
donshire and sometimes for Bedfordshire.^ The greater 
part of the session was taken up with what seems at 
first sight to have been an irregular matter to occupy 
the attention of the Lower House — the settlement of a 
quarrel between John Mowbray, Earl Marshal of England, 
and Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, on a ques- 
tion of their relative precedence in the House of Lords. ^ 
Roger Hunt, whom we have already noticed as Speaker, 
now appeared as counsel for Mowbray, and that forensic 
warrior. Sir Walter Beauchamp, another former Speaker, 
represented his kinsman. The fact of their being so 
engaged as counsel may have been the reason for the 
contest being fought in the Commons. Walton was him- 
self a lawyer, but the legal questions involved were 
rendered nugatory by the forfeited Dukedom of Norfolk 

^ Sir Thomas Walton, or Wauton as the name is sometimes spelt, 
was connected by marriage with the Tiptoft family, which may in 
part account for his advancement to the Chair. 

2 See Rot. Pari., Vol. IV, pp. 267-8. 

Albert ti'ny, ,i,-U. 



//( the Church ,■/ Tciii,', Shtofshire 


being restored to the Earl Marshal, whereupon Warwick's 
pretensions fell to the ground. 

Passing over one or two Speakers, whose names and 
periods of office will be found in the catalogue at the end 
of this volume, the Parliament of 1429-30, presided over 
by William Alington, Knight of the Shire for Cambridge, 
witnessed a great change in the county electorate by which 
the right to vote at the election of Knights of the Shire 
formerly possessed by the miscellaneous body that con- 
stituted the county-court (there is nothing in the writs 
of the thirteenth century to suggest that the franchise 
was limited to " free " men to the exclusion of villeins), 
was Umited to the possessors of a freehold of forty 
shillings annual value, ^ a qualification which continued 
to be the basis of the English county franchise for the 
next four centuries. 

Shortly before the outbreak of the Wars of the Roses 
the Chair was filled by William Tresham, who sat for his 
native county of Northants during a long series of years. 
He was Speaker on four separate occasions — ^in 1439, 
1441-42, 1446-47, and 1449.^ Tresham, as a prominent 
Yorkist, took an active part in the impeachment of 
William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk. The House 
was in session when, on the 17th of March, 1449, 
Suffolk was hauled before the King and sentenced 
to five years' exile. Accused of having betrayed England 
to the French, he was done to death in 1450 ; and the 
Speaker, who by this time had become an object of sus- 
picion to the Lancastrian party, was also murdered, at 

» VIII Henry VI, c. 7. 

" The Dictionary of National Biography says that Tresham was 
again Speaker in 1448-49, but this was not the case, as the Chair was 
filled by Sir John Say in that Parliament. 


Thorpland, in his native county, whither he had gone 
to meet the Duke of York. ^ The son of William Tresham, 
Sir Thomas Tresham, who was brought up in Henry 
VI's household, was also Speaker in the packed Lan- 
castrian ParHament of 1459. Like his father, he met 
with a violent death. He fought on the side of the 
Lancastrians at St. Albans, was proclaimed a traitor 
after Edward IV's return, and was beheaded at Tewkes- 
bury, having been, in all, three times attainted. 

Sir John Say, Knight of the Shire for Herts, also filled 
the Chair in turbulent times. During Jack Cade's in- 
surrection^ the rioters threatened his life, and he was 
indicted for treason at the Guildhall. Jack Cade, the 
first Radical in the history of English politics,' de- 
clared that the freedom of election for Knights of the 
Shire had been wrested from the people by the great 
men of the land, who directed their tenants to 
choose men of whom they tacitly disapproved. Cade 
had probably seen and read Langland's " Richard 
the Redeless," a poem written as a remonstrance to 
Richard II, for there is a passage in it positively afi&rming 
that the Knights of the Shire were the nominees of the 
Court. Though Sir John Say began political life as a 
Lancastrian, he threw in his lot later with the Yorkists. 

' Lord Grey de Ruthyn, a member of Queen Margaret's faction, 
is said to have been responsible for his death (see Paston Letters, 
S May, 1450, No. 93, Vol. I, p. 124). Leland, in his Itinerary, gives a 
circumstantial account of the murder. 

!» 1450. 

' This proud title should, perhaps, be conferred on John Ball, who 
was hanged in 1381. Adopting as his text — 

" When Adam delved and Eve span, 
Who was then the gentleman ? " 
he incited the villeins to murder all the lords and all the lawyers in 
the land. 

1448-9, 1467 
From a fhass in /hi\v/':'/ir>ii- ChKrcli. /icyis. 
Rcf't-oihiccd /mil Waller's " -\h'iiiiiiuiital Bnisscs ." JS04 


Dying in 1478, he was buried in Broxbourne Church, 
Herts, where his memorial brass, one of the few remain- 
ing in England showing traces of colour, is still to be seen. 
The William Say who was Speaker pro tern, during 
LenthaU's absence from the Chair in 1659 was probably 
a collateral descendant. 

The later Parliaments of Henry's ill-starred reign, ^ 
presided over respectively by Sir William Oldhall, 
Thomas Thorpe and his successor Sir Thomas Charlton, 
Sir John Wenlock, Sir Thomas Tresham, and John Green, 
were so overshadowed, first by Jack Cade's rebeUion, and 
then by the Wars of the Roses, that little or no legislation 
was attempted, and the course of constitutional progress 
was arrested. As the fortunes of the faction fight between 
the Red Rose and the White inclined to either party, the 
time of the House was mainly occupied in the prosecution 
and attainder of the more prominent political leaders who 
chanced, for the moment, to be on the losing side. 

It would be outside the scope of the present work to 
enter at any length into the causes which led to the 
outbreak of hostihties, but it should be borne in mind 
that the evUs of livery and maintenance were once 
more rife, and when, after forty years of strife, 
the French wars ceased to afford occupation to the 
English soldiery, bands of military retainers habituated 
to the practice of arms were at the absolute disposal 
of the great landowning class, only awaiting the 
signal of their leaders to re-engage in acts of violence. 
Whilst the greater nobility for the most part ranged 
themselves on the Lancastrian side, a constitutional 
opposition, with the Duke of York at its head, com- 
1 1450, 1453, 1455, 1459. and 1460. 



manded the sympathies of the City of London and the 
bulk of the provincial municipahties. 

Sir William Oldhall, a Hertfordshire magnate, had for 
his country home a castellated mansion, in part incor- 
porated in Hunsdon House, the property in after years 
of the Calvert family ; and he was chosen Knight of the 
Shire for Herts on his first entry into Parhament in 1450. 
He had been Chamberlain to the Duke of York, and it 
was therefore only to be expected that he would take a 
strong line against the feeble occupant of the throne. 
Even more remarkable than Speaker Tiptoft's cele- 
brated demand of the Sovereign was that which 
Oldhall now made on behalf of the Commons. He 
claimed the immediate dismissal of no less than 
twenty-eight officers of the Court, including a duke and 
duchess, a bishop, three barons, four knights, and one 
abbot. All were banished for a year, " to see," as the 
King said, "if in the meantime any man could truly 
lay anything to their charge." Being himself implicated 
in some way in Cade's rebellion, though the evidence 
against him was not very conclusive, the Speaker 
was attainted by the next Parliament. He took sanc- 
tuary in St. Martin's^le-Grand, for Westminster would 
have been too dangerous an asylum for a man of his 
position, and he only emerged from hiding after the 
first battle of St. Albans had again placed his party 
in power. Fortune inclining once more, after Ludlow, 
to the Red Rose, his name was again included in a Bill of 
Attainder, and though, on the accession of Edward IV, 
his sentence was promptly reversed, Oldhall's public career 
was at an end, nor did he seek to re-enter Parliament. 

Dame Agnes Paston was anxious to bring about a 


match between the ex-Speaker and her husband's sister 
Elizabeth, " if ye can think that his land standeth clear." 
This was in 1455, but nothing came of the project. A 
few years later the young .lady wedded Robert Poynings, 
who was sword-bearer to Jack Cade. He was kiUed in 
the second battle of St. Albans, and his widow re- 
married Sir George Browne, of Betchworth, Surrey. 

The adherents of the Red Rose once more predominated 
in the ParUament of 1453, and the choice of the Commons 
for their Speaker fell upon Thomas Thorpe, the repre- 
sentative of the county of Essex, who had been 
brought up from his childhood in the royal service. 
But in August Henry VI became insane, and during 
his incapacity the Yorkists singled out the Speaker for 
attack. He became a marked man when it transpired 
that he had taken possession of some arms belonging to 
the Duke of York, and, notwithstanding the flagrant 
breach of privilege which his arrest involved, Thorpe was 
committed to the Fleet prison and fined £1000 before he 
was released.^ 

Dismissed from his offices of Remembrancer and Baron 
of the Exchequer by the " Butcher of England," Thorpe 
recovered his position at the next revolution of fortune's 
wheel, so that he was enabled to draw up Yorkist at- 
tainders in the Parliament which met at Coventry in 
November, 1459. But when the Yorkists came to town 
in 1460 he took refuge in the Tower. He was soon 
taken prisoner again, and, after attempting to escape in 
the disguise of a monk, he was recognised and beheaded 
by the mob at Haringay on 17 February, 1460-61. 

* Sir Thomas Charlton was chosen Speaker in his stead on the 
i6th of February, 1453-54- 


Nor was Sir John Wenlock, the Speaker of the 1455 
ParUament, more fortunate in his end. A Knight of the 
Shire for Beds and a dependent of Warwick the " King 
Maker," he was at first a Lancastrian, only to change 
sides in 1455. After being wounded at the first battle 
of St. Albans, he was killed at Tewkesbury, fighting once 
again on the Lancastrian side. The manner of his death 
was sufficiently shocking even in this age of violence, for 
he was struck down and his skull cleft in two with a 
battle-axe by the Duke of Somerset for not coming up 
in time, whereby the fortunes of the day were alleged to 
have been lost. His murderer was beheaded on the 
same day. 

Wenlock's life had been one of activity in the field 
throughout the whole period of the Civil Wars, nor 
does history record a more martial career than his in the 
annals of the Chair. After taking part, as has been seen, 
in the battle of St. Albans, he captured Sandwich in 
1460, and entered London with Edward IV, after fighting 
for him at Towton. He held Calais for the usurper, but 
rejoined his first love at Tewkesbury, the last engage- 
ment of his chequered military career. 

A Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, he was 
raised to the Peerage as Baron Wenlock after the corona- 
tion of Edward IV. He owned property at Sommaries, 
at Luton, and at Houghton Conquest, aH in the county 
of Bedford ; and he built the Wenlock mortuary chapel 
in Luton Church, though his bones were not destined to 
lie in it. His second wife, Agnes Danvers, remarried 
Sir John Say, the Speaker of 1449, 1463, and 1467, and 
a neighbour of Wenlock in the adjoining county of 


The last of the Speakers of Henry VI was to witness 
even more stirring scenes at Westminster than any of his 
immediate predecessors. John Green, whose homely 
name is not to be found in the Dictionary of National 
Biography, was voted to the Chair in 1460, and though 
this Parliament only sat for about ten days, it found 
time to repeal all the Acts passed at Coventry in the pre- 
vious year and to annul the attainders of the Yorkist 

After the battle of Wakefield the Wars of the Roses, 
which began by an attempt to vindicate constitutional 
liberty, degenerated into a savage blood feud between 
two desperate and reckless factions, in which no quarter 
was either given or expected. John Green, though not 
himself known to fame, was probably an eye-witness, 
in the momentous month of October, 1460, of a startling 
scene enacted in the Palace of Westminster, when 
Richard, Duke of York, the victor at St. Albans, burst 
into the great haU at the head of five hundred armed 
men, as if about to seize the vacant throne, declaring 
that he " challenged and claimed the crown of England," 
as heir of Richard II. He proposed to an astonished 
audience, much after the manner of Henry IV in 1399, 
that his coronation should take place in the Abbey on 
All-hallows Day following.^ But, though the final 
triumph of the White Rose was near at hand and the old 
hall of Rufus and of Richard was once more to witness 
the death knell of a dynasty, a compromise was arrived 

1 Parliament had met on 7 October, and the Duke of York's 
invasion of the Palace was three days later. The Archbishop of 
Canterbm'y, Thomas Bom-chier, asked the intruder if he desired to 
see the King, to which York made answer that he knew of no one in 
the kingdom who ought not rather to wait on him. 


at, whereby Henry was to retain the crown for Ufe and 
Duke Richard was to be recognised as his heir. ^ 

Soon news reached London that the valiant Queen 
Margaret had succeeded in collecting a fresh army in the 
north, and Richard, hastening from the Council Chamber 
to the camp, marched to meet her at Wakefield, only to 
lose his life and to defer the imminent success of his cause, 
in a battle unprecedented for the savagery with which it 
was contested. Margaret caused York's head to be cut off 
after death, and, adorned in cruel mockery with a paper 
crown, it was stuck on one of the gates of the city from 
which his title was derived.^ 

After Wakefield, the leadership of the Yorkists fell into 
the hands of the " King Maker," the greatest aristocrat in 
England since John of Gaunt. But not until he too had 
fallen at Barnet, and the triumph of the White Rose was 
assured at Tewkesbury, was young Edward ^ able to 
plant himself firmly on the throne, to restore something 
like peace to an exhausted and distracted England, and 
o open a new constitutional era for its people. 

1 During the negotiations the King retreated to his wife's apaxt- 
ments, and York remained in the Palace till he had gained his point. 
He then withdrew to Baynard's Castle, his own mansion in the city. 
' See Shakespeare, third part of King Henry VI : 

" So York may overlook the town of York " 

(Act II, scene 4, line 180). 
' Like Henry IV, fresh from his landing at Ravenspur. 






Four Speakers 

James Strangeways I John Wood 

William Alington I William Catesby 

ON the cessation of the Wars of the Roses the 
exhaustion of the English nobUity coincided 
with an increased desire amongst the upper 
middle class to obtain a seat in the House 
of Commons. A number of new boroughs sprang into 
existence, and men of good birth were selected to re- 
present them at Westminster. 

It is true that early in the history of the Mother of 
Parliaments some of the more powerful territorial fami- 
lies had monopolised the borough representation in the 
neighbourhood of the castles and mansions in which 
dwelt the Knights of the Shire. Thus in East AngUa the 
Fastolfs and the Pastons had swooped down upon the 
smaller boroughs as early as the beginning of the four- 
teenth century, when a member of the first-named family 
sat for Great Yarmouth, ^ and one of the latter for 
Grimsby. ^ 

1 In 1 300-1. ' In 1325. 



In the north country a Lowther sat for Appleby in 
1318, and a Pickering for Carlisle in 1334 ; but these were 
exceptions to the general rule, whereby the burgesses, 
for the most part, were men of mean estate and humble 
calling. In 1382-83 the City of London elected Sir 
Nicholas Brembre, an ex-Lord Mayor, the head of the 
grocers, and a staunch supporter of the King. The 
victualling trades, the grocers and fishmongers, as a rule 
supported the Court ; whereas the clothing trades, the 
drapers and the mercers, mostly ranged themselves in 
opposition. Brembre came to an untimely end, being 
murdered in 1388. 

Between the date of his election and the year 1467 
exactly fifty burgesses are described in the official returns 
as being either " miles," " armiger," or " gentleman," and 
the appearance of one or other of these magic words after 
their names probably indicates the gradual relinquish- 
ment of an obligation on the part of the constituencies to 
pay wages to their representatives. While the pay of 
the burgesses was only two shillings a day, the Knights of 
the Shire were remunerated at double rates. The change 
in the status of the borough member, though gradual, 
was progressive, for whereas in the first Parhament of 
Henry VI not one burgess is described as " armiger," 
and only one in his last,^ no less than six Sussex borough 
representatives are described in 1472 as " armiger." 
One hundred years later, as the old class distinctions 
were swept away, the esquires predominated over the 
tradesmen and merchants. 

In 1472 Sir John Paston was anxious to be chosen a 
Knight of the Shire for Norfolk, which he had already 

' 1460. 


represented in 1467 ; but the Dukes of Suffolk and Nor- 
folk having come to an agreement. Sir Robert Wingfield 
and Sir Richard Howard were returned. Paston's 
brother advised Sir John to try for the borough of Maldon, 
if he could arrange matters with the Sheriff, but in the 
end he was returned for Great Yarmouth in 1477-78. 
When in London he lodged at the " George," by Paul's 
Wharf, and, no doubt, proceeded to Westminster by 
water in the performance of his Parhamentary duties. ^ 

The first Parliament of Edward IV chose for its Speaker 
a Yorkshire knight, Sir James Strangeways, of Whorlton.* 
A new precedent was introduced on his presentation. 
Not ofily did he make the customary " excuse " and a 
demand for the continuance of the privileges of the 
House, but he offered a formal address to the Crown, 
reviewing the political situation and the events of the 
recent Civil War. 

" Presentatio Prelocutoris 

" Item, die Veneris tunc prox sequent, videlicet Tertio 
die Parliamenti, prefati Coes coram Domino Rege in 
Parliamento praedicto comparentes, presentaverunt Do- 
mino Regi quendam Jacobum Strangways militem, pro 
coi Prelocutore suo, de quo idem Dominus Rex se bene 
contentavit. Qui quiden Jacobus, post excusationem 
suam coram Domino Rege factam, pro eo qd ipsa sua 
excusatio ex parto Dicti Domini Regis admitti non 
potuit, eidem Domino Rege humillime supplicavit, qua- 
tinus omnia & singula per ipsum in Parliamento praedicto, 
nomine dicte Communitatis proferend' & declarand', sub 
tali posset Protestatione proferre & declarare, qd si ipse 
aliqua sibi per prefatos Socios suos injuncta, aliter quam 
ipsi concordati fuerint, aut in addendo vel omittendo 

1 See Paston Letters, 21 September, 1472. " 5 November, 1461. 


declaraverit, ea sic declarata per predictos Socios suos 
corrigere posset & emendare ; et qd Protestatio sua 
hujusmodi in Rotulo Parliamenti pr^dicti inactitaretur. 
Cui per prefatum Dominum cancellarium de mandate 
Domini Regis extitit responsum, qd idem Jacobus tali 
Protestatione frueretur & gauderet, quali alii Prelocu- 
tores hujusmodi antea hac tempora uti & gaudere con- 

The precedent set by Speaker Strangeways in 1461 is 
the origin of the existing custom which enables young 
members of the House, exchanging for this occasion only 
the dull conventionality of morning dress for uniformed 
splendour, to move and second the Address to the 
Throne. Strangeways received a grant from Henry VH 
in 1485, from which it appears that he lost no time in 
espousing the Tudor cause. He left a family of no less than 
seventeen children, and at his death, in 1516, he was 
buried in St. Mary Overy's, in Southwark, the cathedral 
of South London, in a tomb not now to be identified. 

At the close of the session the young King thanked 
the Commons for their support, and in so doing assured 
them of his determination to protect them to the utmost 
of his power. 2 The greater part of the session, following 
closely the precedent of 1459, had been devoted to at- 
tainting the followers of Henry VI, ahve or dead, and 
providing for the confiscation of their lands and posses- 
sions ; the Act of Attainder not being drawn up by the 
House of Commons, but presented to it ready-made. It 
was a far more sweeping proscription than the Coventry 

1 Rot. Pari., Vol. V, p. 462. 

^ Dr. S. R. Gardiner regarded this fresh departure as the beginning 
of a new constitutional era in which the wishes of the middle classes, 
both in town and country, were to prevail over those of the nobility, 
simultaneously with the strengthening of the kingship. 


one, for it implicated no less than 133 persons, of whom 
14 were peers of the realm, 7 dead and 7 living, and 100 
knights, squires, and men of lesser degree. 

The young King, being at this time completely under 
the influence of his cousin, reigned only in name while 
Warwick ruled. The humiliation of Henry VI was com- 
plete, and of all his former strongholds he only retained 
one castle, that at Harlech. When Henry again became 
temporarily dominant in 1470, a Parliament, the fifth of 
Edward's reign, was summoned to meet at Westminster 
in the month of November ; but if any records of it 
were kept, it is believed that they were destroyed by 
Edward's orders after Henry's deposition and subsequent 
murder. WiUiam Alington, son of the Speaker of the 
1429 Parliament, and, like his father. Knight of the 
Shire for Cambridge, became Speaker in October, 1472, 
and held the office until March, 1474-75, the longest 
Parliament which England had hitherto known. 

In the intervals between the summoning of his various 
Parliaments the King lived on confiscations and gifts 
extorted from opponents whose lives he had spared, 
and it has been estimated that nearly one-fifth of the 
kingdom came into his hands by forfeiture. The vast 
estates of Warwick, the King Maker, and of the Arch- 
bishop of York, to give but two instances out of many, 
should have furnished ample wealth for a ruler less 
extravagant and pleasure-loving than Edward proved 
himself to be. But Jane Shore^ and others of her pro- 

1 According to Sir Thomas More, Jane Shore was a woman of a 
kindly disposition, possessed of a never failing wit and good humour, 
and as her influence was uniformly exerted in the direction of clemency 
and gentleness, she was generally regarded with kindly feelings by the 
King's subjects. 


fession exerted the same evil influence over him as had 
Alice Ferrers over Edward III, and Fair Rosamund over 
Henry II in an even earlier age, and it soon became 
necessary to devise fresh methods of taxation. 

The Commons were invited to consider favourably a 
project for an inquisitorial assessment of private incomes. 
This, not unnaturally, proved to be highly unpopular, 
and a growing spirit of independence in the Lower House 
is revealed in its refusal to grant money for the invasion 
of France unless it received assurances that the army 
would start at a given date. ^ Parliament was summoned 
to meet again in January, 1477-78, and the session is 
believed to have lasted about five weeks, during which 
time the sole business under consideration was the trial 
of the Duke of Clarence. No grants were asked for, no 
legislation was attempted, and in the course of the month 
of February it was announced that Clarence was dead, 
having perished in the Tower no man knew how. After 
this date no Parliament was called until 1483, the King 
having obtained an assured income for life from earlier 
Parliamentary grants, supplemented by the " benevo- 
lences" which became so odious to the nation at large. 

The eighth and last Parliament of the reign was called 
together in January, 1482-83, and the cause of summons 
stated that it was convened to hear Edward's complaints 
against the French King. The new Speaker was John 

1 "The new method of raising funds by income tax necessitated an 
assessment of lands at their real value. It had been found, by experi- 
ence, that to allow owners to return their own valuations, resulted in a 
sum considerably below what was right. The King's financial agents 
accordingly began an assessment. The King took great interest in the 
process, and wrote that the progress of collection was 'one of the 
things earthly that we most desire to know.' " — Edward the Fourth, by 
Laurence Stratford, 1910, p. 217. 


Wood, Knight of the Shire for Sussex, and one of the 
least distinguished in the long catalogue. It was in 
the main a humdrum session. The King graciously 
consented to accept the comparatively modest sum of 
£11,000 for the aimual expenses of his household, 
and, in return for their liberality, the Commons were 
permitted to pass Acts dealing with the trade of the 
country, with the grievances of " livery and maintenance " 
which had long vexed the minds of the people, and to 
spend their energies on unambitious measures designed 
for the preservation of domestic peace. But of real 
redress of grievances there was none, owing, perhaps, to 
the fact that throughout his reign Edward acted as the 
head of a triumphant political party, rather than as the 
ruler of a contented and united nation. 

On 9 April, 1483, he died in the Palace of Westminster, 
prematurely worn out by a life of debauchery. For a 
week his remains lay in St. Stephen's Chapel befote 
being removed to Windsor for interment. Naked to the 
waist, in order that the civic authorities might be assured 
of his death, the lying-in-state of Edward IV at West- 
minster presents a striking contrast to the dignified 
ceremonial observed on the occasion of the recent death 
of King Edward VII, when, for the first time in its long 
history, the great hall was utilised for a similar purpose. 
In May, 1910, the two branches of the Legislature, 
headed by the Lord Chancellor and the Speaker in their 
robes of state, forgot their differences in the presence of 
a common sorrow, and united in honouring their departed 
Sovereign lying in the hall of Rufus re-edified and em- 
bellished by the last of the Plantagenet race. Edward 
IV was the first of the Kings of England to be buried. 


of his own free will, in the Royal Chapel of St. George, 
though to it the body of his unhappy predecessor and 
rival is said to have been removed by Richard III from 
its first resting-place, Chertsey. 

The severance of the House of York from the traditional 
burial place of the Kings of England marks the dawn 
of a sentiment which led eventually to the substitution 
of Windsor for Westminster as the last resting-place 
of the Sovereign, until the Coronation remains the only 
indissoluble link between the Abbey and the throne. 

The Kings of England, unlike their brothers of France, 
seem never to have feared to be reminded of death. In 
Anglo-Saxon times they were buried at Winchester 
where they lived, and where they were crowned. When 
they became truly English they were crowned, as they 
lived, at Westminster. And when they died, they were 
buried, almost as a matter of course, in the Abbey, and 
as close as possible to the shrine of the Confessor. " Their 
graves, like their thrones, were in the midst of their own 
life, and of the life of their people." ^ 

In the sixteenth century the Palace of Westminster 
ceased to be the accustomed home of the Sovereign, 
from causes to be alluded to hereafter, and though the first 
of the Tudors was interred in the magnificent chapel 
originally intended as a mausoleum for the last of the 
Lancastrian kings, Henry VIII, turning in aversion from 
a spot connected in his mind with the hated marriage 
of his youth, directed that his bones should be laid at 
Windsor beside his best-loved wife Jane Seymour. 

A reaction in favour of Westminster set in with the 
accession of Mary, and it was by her direction that the 

1 Stanley's Memorials of Westminster. 


body of Edward VI, the last male child of the Tudor 
line, was interred in the Abbey. Elizabeth was the last 
of the royal race to whom a monument was erected 
there, and since her death, neither the gratitude of a 
successor nor the affection of a nation has gone so far as 
to provide either sumptuous tomb or recumbent effigy 
for James I, Charles II, William and Mary, Anne, or the 
second monarch of the House of Hanover. They all lie 
in the Abbey without any such memorial. While it is 
significant that the custom of royal interment at West- 
minster should scarcely have survived the Reformation, 
from the sixteenth century onwards the figures of other 
than kings meet, the eye in ever-increasing numbers. 
Warriors, statesmen, and leaders of Parliament were 
freely accorded the honour of burial in the Abbey, and 
before Elizabeth's death the bones of a Speaker were 
laid to rest there, for the first time since the reign of 
Edward III. 

Edward V was a true son of Westminster, for he was 
bom in the Sanctuary and educated in the Abbot's 
school. On the flight of Edward IV from London the 
Queen took refuge in Westminster and accepted the 
hospitality of Thomas Millyng, who was Abbot from 
1469 till 1474. He was one of the most capable rulers 
the monastery ever had, and a great benefactor to the 
fabric. In gratitude for his timely help, and for his 
having stood godfather to the infant prince, the Queen 
founded, after Tewkesbury, the chantry and chapel of 
St. Erasmus in the Abbey. It was, however, destroyed 
by Henry VII during the building of his own noble mau- 
soleum. Edward and his younger brother were murdered 
in the Tower by Richard, Duke of Gloucester, only about 


six weeks after the death of Edward IV. After being 
proclaimed Protector by the Council, Gloucester removed 
from Crosby HaU, or Crosby Place, as it was then called, 
to Westminster, and ascended the throne as Richard HI 
on 25 Jtme. His first and only Parliament met at 
Westminster in the Painted Chamber on 23 January, 
1483-84. It chose for its Speaker William Catesby, a 
lawyer, and the devoted adherent of Richard from the 
moment when he urged his master to assume the crown 
till he died for a lost cause only two years later.* 
" The Cat, the Rat, and Lovell the Dog," to quote a 
popular distich, which cost its author his life, governed 
all England " under the hog " for a little over a year. 

There seems to be little or no evidence that Catesby was 
personally unpopular with the House of Commons, and 
it is, no doubt, largely due to the odium cast upon both 
him and Richard by Shakespeare that his name has 
acquired such a sinister reputation in after ages. In 
the Parliament over which he presided, short though it 
was, time was found to pass an Act for the abolition of 
those " benevolences " which had made Edward IV so 
unpopular at the close of his reign. The statutes of the 
realm were now, for the first time, printed in English 
that all men might read them, and no measures of 
repression or severity towards opponents were introduced 
to the House. Richard kept Christmas at Westminster 
in 1484 with great state, but it was destined to be his 
and Catesby's last. Both met their doom in the fateful 
thirteenth encounter between the Houses of Lancaster 

* One of the Catesby family was Keeper of the Royal Palace at 
Westminster and also of the Fleet Prison, and Robert Catesby, the 
projector of the Gunpowder Plot, was a descendant of the Speaker. 


Frou, a Memorial Brass at AsliH St. Lcdgns. Xarthants 


and York, the battle of Bosworth being the closing scene 
in a struggle which had cost 100,000 lives. At the time 
of his death Richard had not completed his thirty-fifth 
year, nor was Catesby much older. The ex-Speaker was 
beheaded without form or semblance of a trial, three 
days after the fighting was over, time, however, being 
given him to make his will. 

The dynasty of York had only endured for twenty- 
four years, yet this short space was not without impor- 
tance for the House of Commons. With the close of 
mediaeval monarchy, and the advent of a more personal 
element in the relations of the throne towards Parliament, 
disappeared, at all events for a time, much of the sturdy 
independence which had animated the earlier occupants 
of the Chair. Patriots like De la Mare, who used their 
position in the House to call attention to the pressing 
necessity of maritime defence ; ^ independent leaders like 
Savage and Tiptoft, who did not shrink on occasion from 
admonishing the Sovereign on his shortcomings, compare 
very favourably with the servile tribe of lawyers who 
monopohsed the Chair in the Tudor period. 

The Dudleys and Empsons of Henry VII, the Riches 
and Audleys of his successor on the throne, and the 
Snagges and Puckerings of Elizabethan memory, would 
have been impossible under the Plantagenets, and it is a 
curious fact that the Speakers of the Irish House of 
Commons, down to nearly the close of the eighteenth 
century, were regarded as Parliamentary leaders far more 
than were their English prototypes at the same period. 
Edmond Sexten Pery, Speaker of the Irish Commons 
from 1772-85, used his great political power in the best 

1 Rot. Pari., Vol. II, p. 307. 


interests of his country to an extent unapproached by 
any of his predecessors in ofl&ce. 

Though there are great names to be found in the Tudor 
catalogue of Speakers, as will be shown hereafter, the fame 
of the two greatest amongst them was won in spheres 
other than Parliamentary. The tenure of the Chair by 
Sir Thomas More and Sir Edward Coke was in each 
case a mere passing incident in the life of a man who 
played a leading part in the history of his country. 
With the decay of chivalry and the growth of a more 
commercial spirit in England went hand in hand a 
lessening of the importance of the Commons. Yet the 
spirit of liberty was never wholly dead. It only awaited 
the coming of the seventeenth century, and the final 
struggle of the Commons with the Crown to reassert 
itself with added force. 



Henry VII — 
Thomas Lovell 
John Mordaunt 
Thomas Fitzwilliam 
Richard Empson 
Robert Drury 
Reginald Bray (doubtful) 
Thomas Englefield 
Edmond Dudley 

Henry VIII— 
Robert Sheffield 
Thomas Nevill 
Thomas More 
Thomas Audley 
Humphrey Wingfield 
Richard Rich 
Nicholas Hare 
Thomas Moyle 
John Baker 

Edward VI — 
James Dyer 

Mary — 

John Pollard 
Robert Brooke 
Clement Heigham 
William Cordell 

Elizabeth — 

Thomas Gargrave 
Thomas Williams 
Richard Onslow 
Christopher Wray 
Robert Bell 
John Popham 
John Puckering 
Thomas Snagge 
Edward Coke 
Christopher Yelverton 
John Croke 

^ T the accession of Henry VII the House of 

/% Commons acquired an immediate, if tempo- 

/ % rary, importance as the working Chamber, 

from the depletion of the numbers of the 

House of Lords. Forfeiture, confiscation and attainder 



had so decimated the Upper House that only twenty- 
nine temporal peers were entitled to sit in it. The 
old feudal nobility had been weakened and reduced in 
the Wars of the Roses, though without any violent 
dislocation of the Constitution ; and until the peerages 
created in the sixteenth century laid the foundations 
of an aristocracy which could never again be a serious 
menace to the Crown, the House of Lords, as a 
legislative body, virtually ceased to exist. 

In the first Pariiament of Henry VII sat the head of 
the great family of Nevill — the Earl of Westmorland. 
Allied in blood to the King Maker, and owning vast 
estates in the north, south, and midland districts, the 
first earl of this creation, a Lancastrian to the backbone, 
left four sons, all of whom were raised to the Peerage, 
whilst his five sons-in-law were the Dukes of Bucking- 
ham, Norfolk, and York, the Earl of Northumberland, 
the head of the ancient house of Percy, and Lord 

Whilst the NeviUs had been for centuries an acknow- 
ledged force in English political life, the Upper House, in 
spite of the grievous losses it had sustained, stiU numbered 
amongst its surviving members the Berkeleys, the 
Courtenays, the Stanleys, the Greys, and the Veres, 
to mention but a few of the more notable names of the 
English aristocracy. The Herberts and the Howards 
were but newly ennobled. The hour of the Seymours, 
the Cavendishes, and the Cecils had not struck. 

That it was Henry VII's deliberate intention to relegate 
the Lords to a position of legislative impotence is shown 
by the fact that in the whole course of his reign he created 
scarcely any new peers, though some few were restored 


to their former rank on the reversal of their attainders.^ 
In addition to cripphng the hereditary branch of the 
legislature, the Tudors desired to be as far as possible 
independent of the House of Commons. Tonnage and 
poundage had been granted to the Crown for life since 
the reign of Henry VI, and although Henry VII sum- 
moned seven Parliaments in all, their attention, with the 
exception of some salutary changes in the law relating 
to trade and navigation, whereby a powerful stimulus was 
given to English shipping, both national and mercantile, 
was in the main devoted to the raising of subsidies. 
The ruling passion of Henry's life was the accumulation 
of wealth, not so much from an innate love of money 
for money's sake, as from a desire to secure a large reserve 
to be used as a guarantee for the national peace. 

Henry enlarged the powers of the Privy Council in the 
new Court of Star Chamber, an assembly whose pro- 
ceedings were never regulated by statute. At first a 
court of summary jurisdiction, it was destined to become 
in after years the favourite instrument of the Sovereign 
in the illegal collection of compulsory loans. The actual 
room in the Palace of Westminster in which this much- 
dreaded tribunal held its sittings remained standing until 
the great fire of 1834, soon after which it was taken down. 
Its exact site is indicated at the present day by a brass 
plate affixed to the former ofiicial residence of the Chief 
Clerk of the House, the greater part of which has 
now been annexed by the Prime Minister and other 
members of the Cabinet, and used by them as a place of 
retreat from the storm and strain of the actual chamber. 

1 Only once during the whole Tudor period did the number of the 
temporal lords amount to sixty. 


Another innovation affecting the independence of the 
House of Commons was the direct nomination of the 
Speaker in all cases by the Crown. No less an authority 
than Sir Edward Coke candidly admitted that this open 
interference of the Sovereign was designed to avoid loss 
of time in disputing. ^ In spite of the increasing powers 
of the royal prerogative, it remained theoretically im- 
possible for the Crown to levy any new tax without 
the assent of both Houses, and it became the business 
of the chiefs of Henry's secret service so to manage 
Parliament that the outward forms of the Constitution 
might at least be observed. Assuming Coke to be 
correct, it will be of interest to consider what manner of 
men Henry VII selected to preside over the House of 
Commons, and it will be seen that they were drawn 
both from the landed gentry and from the legal pro- 

At Bosworth there had fought by his side Sir Thomas 
Lovell, of ancient lineage in Norfolk, and a kinsman of 
Francis, Viscount Lovell of Tichmarsh, Northants, an ad- 
herent of Richard III, whose ancestors had fought for the 
Conqueror at Senlac. When Thomas Lovell first entered 
Parliament it was as Knight of the Shire for Northants. 
A man of great and varied attainments, the King showed 
his appreciation of his services by making him Chancellor 
of the Exchequer for life, in which capacity he seems to 
have had a share, in conjunction with Morton, in the 
fiscal policy of Dudley and Empson. This connection 
may in part account for his having died enormously 
rich. In addition to the offices already mentioned, Lovell 
became President of the Council, Constable of the Tower 

1 Coke, Institutes, Vol. IV, p. 8. 

^ , /fiMea/O'. 


(under Henry VHI), and High Steward of both Oxford 
and Cambridge. 

A Bencher also of Lincoln's Inn, he deserves to be 
remembered as the builder of the gate-house in Chancery 
Lane. Though often threatened with demohtion, this 
interesting specimen of sixteenth-century brickwork, 
having many points of resemblance to the gate-towers of 
Eton and St. James's Palace, still guards the entrance to 
the Law and preserves on its outer face the Lovell arms. 
Its appearance is, however, much spoilt by the insertion of 
modern sash-windows in its venerable face. Previous to its 
erection in 15 18, Lincohx's Inn had only been entered 
from Holborn. In quite recent days the Inn has suffered 
many indignities at the hands of an ill-informed if well- 
meaning body of Benchers. To modernise their Chapel 
and to undo the work of Inigo Jones, they called in a 
lawyer masquerading as an architect — the late Lord 
Grimthorpe, whose outrageous vandalism at St. Albans 
stands universally condemned as the most deplorable 
architectural failure of modern times. His iconoclastic 
hand, sweeping all before it and disfiguring all that it 
touched, fortunately stopped just short of Lovell's gate- 
way, and it is to be hoped that this, the oldest building 
in any of the Inns of Court, is now safe from the un- 
welcome attentions of the restorer and the] amateur 

At Westminster Lord Grimthorpe's energies were 
happily confined to the erection of "Big Ben."'^ This, 
the largest chiming clock in the world, was completed 
in i860, but the hour bell was unfortunately cracked 

' So called from Sir Benjamin Hall, First Commissioner of Works, 


soon after it was placed in position. Its predecessor, 
" Great Tom of Westminster," which hung for centu- 
ries in a detached clochard dating from Plantagenet 
times, was given by William IH to St. Paul's Cathedral 
when the tower was taken down after it had become 
ruinous. It is a conspicuous feature in Hollar's view 
of New Palace Yard.^ When tolled Great Tom was said 
to have soured all the milk in Westminster. 

Sir Thomas Lovell, soldier, statesman, and lawyer, was 
chosen Speaker of the Parliament which met on 7 Novem- 
ber, 1485, " in Camera communiter dicta Crucis infra 
Palacium Westmonasterium," and one of his first official 
acts must have been to put the question to the House on 
the BiU for the reversal of his own attainder by Richard 
III. This, the first Tudor Parliament, was probably dis- 
solved in March, i486, after granting the King a liberal 
subsidy and attainting many of King Richard's followers. 
In the same year the Speaker's kinsman, Francis, Lord 
Lovell, headed an abortive rising in the north, but this 
does not seem to have impaired Sir Thomas's influence 
and intimacy with his Sovereign, as he continued to 
shower favours upon him, and selected him to be one of 
the executors of his will. 

It is said that Lord Lovell's widow, fearing that 
Henry's vengeance would extend to her, retired after her 
husband's attainder to a lodge in Whittlebury Forest, 
where she lived for a time under the protection of gipsies. 
One of her sons is believed to have married a Romany 
bride and to have become their king, whence the common 
occurrence of the name of LoveU amongst the tribe. There 
are yeomen Lovells in Northamptonshire to this day, but 

1 Reproduced in this volume. 


the direct line of the Speaker appears to be extinct. 
In Henry VII's Chapel there has recently been placed, 
owing to the generosity of Sir J. C. Robinson, a fine 
bronze medallion of Sir Thomas, by Torregiano. It was 
brought from his manor-house at East Harling, Norfolk, 
and it is the earliest pictorial representation of a 
Speaker of the House of Commons, other than a monu- 
mental effigy or a brass, discovered up to the present 
time.* LoveU died at Elsing, in Middlesex, and was 
buried with great magnificence in a chantry chapel which 
he had built at the Nunnery of Holywell, in Shoreditch. 
As the last of the martial Speakers it is fitting that he 
should be worthily commemorated at Westminster, and 
iii the magnificent mausoleum built by the first of the 
Tudor line. 

Sir John Mordaunt, Knight of the Shire for Beds, 
was Speaker in the Parliament which created the Court 
of Star Chamber, and Sir Thomas Fitzwilliam, of Ald- 
wark, Yorkshire, an ancestor of Earl Fitzwilliam, in 
Henry's third Parliament. A new House of Commons 
was summoned to meet on 17 October, 1491, and it chose 
for its Speaker, or rather it had forced upon it, Sir 
Richard Empson, Knight of the Shire for Northants, and, 
by repute, the son of a sievemaker at Towcester in that 
county. Parliament opened with alarums and excursions 
of war. The King announced his intention of heading an 
army to recover the ancient rights of England in France, 
and though after the fall of Sluys he crossed the Channel, 
the peace of Etaples was signed^ without any further 

1 A reproduction of this beautiful work of mediaeval art will be 
found in this volume. 
' 3 November, 1492. 


fighting. Empson and his fidus achates, Dudley, par 
ignobile fratrum, lived in adjoining houses in Walbrook, 
and, according to Stow, they had a " door of intercourse " 
from the garden which now belongs to Salters' Hall. 

It would almost seem as if there was something in the 
atmosphere of this corner of the City peculiarly favourable 
to the accumulation of colossal wealth, for within a 
stone's-throw of Dudley and Empson's garden, and on 
a site adjoining Salters' Hall, stand Messrs. Rothschild's 
famous London offices. But here the parallel ceases. 
The royal extortioners never devoted any of their ill- 
gotten gains to reUeving the necessities of the poor, 
whereas St. Swithin's Lane has been for more than a 
century, not only the chosen home of the true aristocracy 
of finance, but a business centre rightly associated in the 
public mind with unbounded charity, freely and un- 
ceasingly dispensed without regard to class or creed. 

The next Parliament of the reign met at Westminster, 
14 October, 1495, and chose for its Speaker Sir Robert 
Drury, a member of a Suffolk family long seated at 
Hawstead and Horningsheath in that county, a property 
now merged in the estates of the Marquis of Bristol. 
Drury is the first Speaker definitely known to have 
received a University education, and in this respect 
Cambridge takes the pride of place. Possibly the 
reversion to a Speaker of knightly degree and un- 
connected with the law was due to the fact that no 
sanction was required for any war tax. Parliament 
dealt instead with such domestic matters as vagabondage, 
gaming, the licensing of ale-houses, and other non-con- 
troversial matters, for even licensing Bills were strictly 
uncontentious in the fifteenth century. 

SIR RICHARD EMl'siiN. 1491, AM> EDMOMi nrDI.F.V, I5OJ-4, 


Fi-ciii a /•niill/iii: in ///,■ /',iss,ss/,^ii 1'/ t/if lh:ki 0/ Kxtlan^i 


In an unostentatious way some of the earlier Tudor Par- 
liaments accomplished a fair amount of useful legislation. 
They passed laws against usury, generally, it is to be 
feared, a dead letter from the day they received the Royal 
Assent ; they attempted to fix the labourer's wages ; 
and, in their soHcitude for his welfare, they even settled 
the hours at which he was to rise, and the time he was to 
spend at his meals. From this Speaker's family Drury 
Lane, where their town house was situated, derives its 
name, and it will also be familiar to many old Etonians 
from the well-known dame's house, founded by the Rev. 
Benjamin Drury, an assistant master under the redoubt- 
able Keate. Sir Thomas Englefield, of Englefield, a 
Berkshire knight with a pedigree of fabulous antiquity, 
presided over Henry's sixth Parliament;^ and, by way 
of contrast, the notorious Dudley, a Gray's Inn lawyer 
with an Oxford education and an assumed name, filled 
the Chair in his seventh and last. Empson was Chancellor 
of the Duchy at the same time, and these " two ravening 
wolves," as they have been called by an old chronicler, 
acting in concert, practised extortion and intimidation 
to an extent hitherto unknown in England. By brow- 
beating the sheriffs they were able to nominate 
whom they pleased at elections ; every infraction of the 
law, however antiquated, was punished by a heavy fine, 
verdicts were dictated to judges by men who were 
not judges themselves, but who seem to have acted 
as a committee of the Privy Council. The unscrupu- 
lous poUcy pursued by Dudley and Empson between 
1504 and the King's death brought an immense sum of 
money into the royal treasury, whilst the " wolves " and 

1 Held in January, 1496-97. 


their friends reaped no inconsiderable share of the spoil. 
From Dudley's Tree of Commonwealth, written during his 
imprisonment in 1510, it would seem that some scheme 
for the appropriation of ecclesiastical revenues had already 
engaged the attention of the Privy Council, and owing 
to his denunciations of abuses in the Church, the idea 
of the Reformation may have suggested itself to 
Henry VIII. 

In connection with the House of Commons under 
the first of the Tudors, there only remains to be noticed 
Sir Reginald Bray, of Steyne, Co. Northants (a fruitful soil 
for the Speakership at this period), who has been assumed 
by many historical writers to have presided over the House 
of Commons. Bray's name, however, is nowhere to be 
found in the Rolls as having filled that high office, and such 
evidence as exists favours the presumption that he acted 
as President of a great Council, and not a fully equipped 
Parliament, which assembled at Westminster on 24 
October, 1496. As it was attended by the Lords spiritual 
and temporal, the serjeants-at-law and burgesses and 
merchants from the principal cities and boroughs, and as 
it pledged itself to an expenditure of £120,000 to be used 
in the invasion of Scotland, it had many of the attributes 
of a regular Parliament, and for that reason it has seemed 
desirable to include Bray's name in this catalogue of 
honour. Like Speaker Lovell, he had fought at Bosworth, 
where he plucked Richard's crown out of a hawthorn bush, 
into which it had been cast in the moment of defeat. 
The Brays adopted the hawthorn as their badge, and 
it was formerly to be seen in one of the painted windows 
of the manor house at Stejoie.^ 

' It also reappears amongst the fragments of contemporary stained 
glass in Henry VII's Chapel. 


The biographical dictionaries, without exception, con- 
fidently state that Sir Reginald Bray was the architect 
of Henry VII's Chapel, and that he put the finishing 
touches to St. George's in Windsor Castle, in which 
latter building he lies buried without a monument. 
But this statement requires examination, and has too 
hastily been accepted as correct. Bray was undoubtedly 
a patron of architecture, but he was certainly not the 
architect, in the modern sense of the word, of the royal 
mausoleum at Westminster. To Robert Vertue, the 
greatest of a distinguished family of builders, belongs 
the honour of having designed that noble work.^ All 
that Bray did at Windsor was to buy the materials — the 
stone, timber, lead, glass, etc. — and to pay the archi- 
tect's salary and the wages of the men. He seems to have 
done the same at the royal palaces of Richmond and 
Greenwich, where Vertue again worked under him. 
Moreover, Bray died in 1503, when the great chapel at 
Westminster was only just beginning to rise from its 
foundations, nor was it fully finished at the King's 
death in 1509. He had been associated with the 
fiscal abuses of Morton, Fox, and Empson, and he ap- 
pointed the last-named to be an executor of his wiU. 
Sir Reginald was a man of great wealth. He " had the 
greatest freedom of any councillor with the King," who 
granted to him, amongst others, the forfeited estates of 
Francis, Lord Lovell, but his claim to be considered a 
great master of design is unfounded. The mind is 
insensibly drawn from his supposed share in the beauti- 

1 See Professor Lethaby's Westminster Abbey, 1906, p. 225. 
Vertue' s name has been strangely overlooked by the Dictionary of 
National Biography, and the omission is the more to be regretted as 
he was essentially a master of the English school. 


fying of the Abbey to what was actually accomplished 
at Westminster by the King's craftsmen. 

In private life Henry VII was a pious man and a 
frugal liver, but his love of art and architecture caused 
him to be lavish in the prosecution of his building schemes. 
He had amassed a fortune estimated at sixteen millions 
of the present value of money, and he spared no ex- 
pense in the erection of the royal tomb-house, with 
the result that he has stamped his personality upon West- 
minster more than any King of England since Henry III. 
The last of all the great works of the Benedictine Abbey, 
for Wren's additions were in the nature of repairs and 
restorations, the magnificent chapel erected between 1502 
and 1509 was originally intended as a mausoleum for the 
remains of Henry VI. Its exterior has been much spoilt 
by injudicious restoration early in the nineteenth century,^ 
but the interior ranks amongst the highest achievements 
of Gothic art in this country. 

" Far in advance," to quote the words of the Abbey's 
latest historian, Mr. Francis Bond, " of anything of con- 
temporary date in England, or France, or Italy, or Spain, 
it shows us Gothic architecture not sinking into senile 
decay, as some have idly taught, but bursting forth, 
Phoenix-Hke, into new hfe, instinct with the freshness, 
originality and inventiveness of youth." The fan- 
vaulting of its matchless roof, pieced together with the 
accuracy and precision of an astronomical instrument, 
is, by common consent, the most wonderful achievement 
of masonry ever wrought by the hand of man. Its 

1 In the words of William Morris : " Wyatt managed to take all 
the romance out of the exterior of this most romantic work of the late 
Middle Ages." 

Froui a ih-au'iii^- in the possession 0/ Mr. Justice Bjay 0/ a -..•indoic in the Pj-iojy Chwc 



pendants, seeming to rest on unsubstantial air, look 
down upon the finest piece of embellished metal-work 
in all England — the gilt bronze railing, or " grate " as 
it is called in contemporary writings — ^which surrounds 
the tombs of Henry and Elizabeth of York. Their 
recumbent effigies, on which Torregiano was engaged for 
many years, are admitted to be among the greatest of their 
kind. Novel as was Robert Vertue's system of vaulting 
in England, his scheme of exterior abutment is even 
more strikingly original. By substituting octagonal 
domed turrets for the flying buttresses of an earlier 
age, the architect not only economised space, but 
introduced into his scheme of fenestration a new and 
attractive feature. The windows, no longer mere fiat 
insertions, are here made to follow the curved lines of 
the exterior walls, with the happiest results of light and 

The beauty of Henry VII's Chapel induced Barry to 
adopt the Tudor style for the new Houses of Parhament. 
With all their imperfections, of which not the least was the 
selection of a stone which has proved incapable of resisting 
the destructive effect of the London atmosphere, they 
stand out by themselves as the most picturesque Gothic 
building, on a large scale, added to the metropolis in the 
nineteenth century. The daring combination of gilding 
and masonry exhibited in both the Victoria and the 
Clock Towers has elicited nothing but commendation 
from qualified critics, while the design of the members' 
private staircase is held to equal that at Christ Church, 
Oxford, in Ughtness and elegance, than which no higher 
praise can be given. 

The mistake of employing a Gothic architect to design 


a classical building, which Lord Palmerston made when 
Sir Gilbert Scott was selected to build the Home and 
Foreign Offices, is only too apparent in Whitehall. That 
artistic failure should have taught a lesson to successive 
Commissioners of Works, but not much can be said in 
praise of the more recently erected Public Offices, mostly 
of a machine-made type, which line what ought to be 
the finest thoroughfare in London — the approach from 
Trafalgar Square to Westminster. 

At the present time London happens to want a digni- 
fied and adequate memorial to King Edward VII. 
What an opportunity for a First Commissioner of 
Works to immortalise himself by reconstructing Trafalgar 
Square and the main approach to the Houses of Parlia- 
ment on an heroic scale ! If he could obtain the neces- 
sary funds there is actually a vacant pedestal awaiting 
him in the finest site in Europe, whereon he might, 
in course of time, be exhibited to a grateful posterity 
as a pendant in extravagance to George IV. 

The formation of a Via Regia from the Forum to the 
Senate, such as would have delighted ancient Rome, would 
present no insuperable difficulty to Paris, or even to 
Berlin. Yet the example of the New Processional Road 
through the Mall, which, whilst it opens up a clearer view 
of the hideous front of Buckingham Palace, destroyed 
a genuine relic of seventeenth-century London, almost 
makes one despair of the artistic future of metropolitan 
improvements. Leaving St. James's Park by a well-pro- 
portioned triple arch the scheme of the architect has been 
choked and strangled at its birth for want of the funds 
required to demoUsh a few insignificant business premises. 
To buy out the banks, clubs, hotels, and shops which dis- 


figure three sides of Trafalgar Square would cost a large 
sum, but a beginning might be made by sweeping away the 
paltry fountains feebly spurting from amidst a waste of 
sombre asphalte. And although the public sentiment 
would probably not approve of any material alteration 
in the central feature of the nation's memorial to Nelson, 
our sympathy is rather with the survivor of the Victory's 
crew who exclaimed, on being invited to admire the 
gigantic column : " Well, I'm blessed if they haven't 
mast-headed the Admiral ! " 

At the accession of Henry VIH continuous Parha- 
mentary government was neither expected nor desired 
by the constituencies, and the burden of paying their 
representatives at Westminster would account for no 
pubhc indignation being evoked, when nearly six years 
elapsed ^ before a new Parliament was called. When at 
last it did meet it sat for less than a month, and, though 
at its opening the Chancellor, Archbishop Warham, 
expatiated on the necessity of making good laws and 
spoke of the constitutional assembly as " the stomach of 
the nation," the legislative output of the session was 
infinitesimal, and when, after the Houses had granted 
the King a liberal subsidy, the dissolution was reached, ^ 
the only concession made to popular opinion was the 
condemnation of Dudley and Empson, who expiated 
their crimes on Tower Hill in the following August.' 

Assuredly, this was the only occasion in Parliamentary 
history when two former Speakers died on the same day. 
Yet in the seventeenth century the situation was nearly 

' Between 1504 and January, 1509-10. 
^ On 23 February. 

' This stop-gap Parliament was presided over by Sir Thomas 
Englefield, who had preceded Dudley in the Chair during the last reign. 


paralleled, when Chaloner Chute and Lislebone Long died 
within a month of one another, and in the eighteenth, 
when Mr. Speaker Cornwall expired within twenty-four 
hours of his old antagonist Fletcher Norton. It would be 
interesting to know, remembering his former intimacy 
with the twin extortioners, what were Speaker Lovell's 
feelings when he heard that Dudley and Empson were 
to be brought to the block. As it was, he lived just long 
enough to see the profession of the law once more pre- 
ferred to the Chair in the person of Sir Thomas More, 
the gifted author of Utopia — that happy land which he 
described as having few laws and no lawyers. 

The temporary eclipse of the House of Lords as 
a legislative body enabled Henry VHI to introduce 
Bills into the Upper House which had previously been 
prepared by the Privy Council, in concert with the law 
of&cers of the Crown ; to pass them rapidly through that 
complacent assembly ; and to present them cut and dried 
to a packed House of Commons. The practice of referring 
Government measures to the consideration of a committee 
of both Houses was also initiated by the Tudors. At the 
same time the power of the Crown over the legislature 
was much increased by so manipulating the elections as 
to ensure the return of the King's Household officers. 
And while Henry was careful to lay stress upon the 
independence of Parliament in his communications 
with the Pope, there is abundant evidence to the effect 
that, aided as the King was by Thomas Cromwell, the 
constituencies had little or no free choice in the election 
of their representatives. 

The earliest and crudest form of intimidating voters 
was to beat them off by armed force on the day of the 


poll, as related in the Paston letters, and even where no 
coercion was employed the preliminaries to election were 
often accompanied by strange and novel conditions. 
Some amusing instances of payment in kind for Parlia- 
mentary service occur in the fifteenth century, as when 
John Strange entered into an agreement with the bailiffs 
of Dunwich to give his attendance at Westminster " for 
a cade of full herring " whether the House " holds long 
time or short," whUe the borough of Weymouth at the 
same period was able to secure a member to watch over 
its interests at the even cheaper rate of five hundred 
mackerel. Five shillings a week was all that Ipswich was 
willing to pay for the services of William Worsop in 1472, 
whilst John Walworth, the junior member, covenanted 
to serve for as little as three shillings and four pence ! 

Though little is heard of direct bribery in the sixteenth 
century, instances occurred of members compounding 
with their constituents by agreeing to accept less than 
the statutory allowance for travelling expenses. Some 
even went so far as to offer to serve altogether without 
pay. This negative form of bribery became increasingly 
common in the reign of Henry VIII, and the city of 
Canterbury, overjoyed, on one occasion, at having saved 
the wages of one of its members who stayed away from 
Westminster on account of the plague, actually rewarded 
him for his abstention. There is this much to be said 
for bribery as understood and practised in olden days. 
The briber did at least pay the money out of his own 
pocket, therefore the revenues of the State did not 
suffer. Nowadays the would-be briber offers the money 
of the State in order to corrupt voters, and whilst party 
leaders talk grandiloquently of the great constitutional 


issues involved in a general election, the actual canvas- 
sing for votes in many constituencies turns mainly on 
the granting of pecuniary rewards by the State. 

The seventeenth century brought with it increased 
cost to candidates, but bribery was not translated into a 
fine art until the division of the House of Commons into 
parties, each anxious to turn the other out and obtain 
the spoils of office, became an accomplished fact. 
Wasteful expenditure at contested elections attained 
its height towards the end of the eighteenth century, 
but since 1832 bribery in an acute form has tended 
steadily to decline. Traces of the old leaven occasion- 
ally manifested themselves far on into the nineteenth 
century, but under an extended franchise, and a pure 
and beneficent system — which substitutes cheerfully paid 
subscriptions and charitable donations for the whole- 
sale treating and degrading corruption of the electorate 
prevailing within the memory of many still living — ^the 
cost of entering the House of Commons, and, what is 
often more difficult, of securing re-election at the second 
attempt, is now appreciably less than it was before the 
passing of the Corrupt Practices Act of 1883. 

Although it has not been possible to discover that 
the measures adopted by Thomas Cromwell to secure 
a compliant House of Commons included anything 
in the nature of wholesale pecuniary corruption, the 
constant pressure put upon the sheriffs and mayors 
by the Privy Council was so stringent and so far-reaching 
that throughout the period of the Reformation the 
popular assembly was almost entirely subservient to the 
Sovereign, from the Speaker in his Chair to the humblest 
burgess. To a House so constituted was assigned the 


spade work of severing England from Rome and despoiling 
the Church, and, owing to the spirit of independence 
being almost wholly absent from its deliberations, it 
became possible for the real rulers of the country, under 
the thin disguise of a constitutional movement which was 
in reality a hollow sham, to rob the English people of a 
faith which, of their own free will, they had never 
deliberately rejected. 

Henry's second Pariiament, a " War Parliament " as 
it has been called, was presided over by Sir Robert 
Sheffield, of Butterwick, near Boston, in Lincolnshire, 
an ancestor of the Dukes of Buckingham of that family .^ 
The ancient seat of the Sheffields had been at a place 
called Hemmeswelle, but a fortunate match with the 
heiress of Delves enabled the Speaker to build extensively 
at Butterwick, in the Isle of Axeholme. 

It has been supposed that the Speakers had no official 
residence at Westminster until a much later period, but 
from the journal of a Venetian traveller, who visited 
England in 1512, it appears that not only did the Speaker 
thus early live within the precincts of the Palace, but that 
a certain amount of ceremonial hospitality was expected 
of him by the general body of members : — 

" The Parliament has begun, that is to say all the 
gentlemen of the Kingdom have come, and are making a 
Parhament in the Palace of the King called Vasmonestier, 
distant from London less than two miles ; and all the 
gentlemen who come have houses in London, and it 

^ Speaker Sheffield was buried in 1518 in the church of the 
Augustinian Friars. This, which has been since 1550 the meeting- 
place of the Dutch Communion in London, was for centuries a 
favourite burying-place with the greater nobility and the wealthier 
City merchants. 


behoves them to pass before the door of the House of the 
Worshipful Speaker, as well those who go by land as those 
who go by water ; for there is a river called the Tamixa, 
whereon they can go in loo boats, made after their 
fashion, from London to the said Vasmonestier. And they 
are bound to pass before the said worshipful house ; and 
having reached the said door, these gentlemen, for the love 
they bear to the magnificent and worshipful speaker, 
visit him with i6 and more or less servants ; some come 
to dinner and some to breakfast (eolation), forjthis is the 
custom of the country : they have breakfast every 
morning. . . . Every morning he goes to Mass with some 
of these gentlemen, who hold him by the arms and walk 
up and down with him for an hour ; then they go to the 
Council and he to his house." ^ 

During Sheffield's tenure of the Chair ^ a disastrous 
fire broke out in the Palace of Westminster, and many 
old buildings between the Great Hall and the Abbey were 
destroyed. Details of the calamity, which occurred in 
1512, are scanty. The Hall itself, the Painted Chamber, 
St. Stephen's Chapel, the Star Chamber, and the Clock 
Tower escaped injury, but many of the King's private 
apartments were burnt. This fire, by no means the first 
in which the Palace had been involved, was the primary 
cause of the removal of the Court, first to Bridewell and 
thence, after the fall of Wolsey, to Whitehall. 

Apparently the Cloister Court of St. Stephen's, dating 

1 This delightful bit of Parliamentary anecdote will be found in 
Gentlemen Errant, by Mrs. Henry Cust, 1909, p. 512, note. 

^ The Dictionary of National Biography, following Manning, says 
that Sheffield had also been Speaker in 1510, but the Rolls conclu- 
sively prove that Englefield was Speaker from 23 January, 1509-10, 
until 23 February. And as under the old style the year was reckoned 
to begin on 25 March, Parliament was not actually in session at any 
time in 15 10. 

Haus H,^!bui:,piitxt. 


J'7-om n pmii 

R<'ht-rtCra''e sculp!. 


from the middle of the fourteenth century, was involved 
in the conflagration, for it is known to have been rebuilt 
in 1526 by Dr. John Chambers, the last Dean of the 
Saint Chapelle of the Palace. A bell tower rising on the 
east side of Westminster Hall escaped the flames in 
1512, and was heightened when the Cloister Court was 
rebuilt, only to be once more practically destroyed in the 
still greater fire of 1834. 

Its subsequent restoration by Sir Charles Barry ranks 
as one of the most successful achievements of that 
architect at Westminster. 

In the library of Hatfield House are two interesting 
plans, drawn by John Symonds in 1593, showing in 
detail the various buildings between the Great Hall and 
the Receipt of the Exchequer as they existed when Coke 
sat in the Speaker's Chair. 

The Palace of Bridewell was only divided from the 
Blackfriars by the Fleet Ditch, and in consequence of 
the damage caused by the fire at Westminster, the sittings 
of Parliament were temporarily held in the Priory. 

The next Speaker after Sheffield was Sir Thomas Nevill, 
fifth son of the second Baron Bergavenny. He was voted 
to the Chair on 6 February, 1514-15, and held office till 
the dissolution, on 22 December. When he was pre- 
sented for the royal approval in the House of Lords 
he had the honour of knighthood conferred upon him 
in the presence of the assembled Lords and Commons, 
"the like whereof was never known before." During 
the session an Act was passed which laid down that 
no knight, citizen, or burgess " do depart until Parha- 
ment be fully finished except he have hcence of the 
Speaker and the same be entered in the book of the 


clerk," upon pain of losing his wages. An earlier statute 
of Richard II had dealt with the subject of absenting 
members and the penalties to be inflicted for non- 
attendance at Westminster. 

In the reign of EUzabeth, and probably earlier, the 
House was called over at the opening of every session, 
and members in their places answered to their names. 
But in spite of all attempts to ensure regular attend- 
ance, there were frequent complaints of scanty houses 
in Tudor times, and even such expedients as locking the 
doors and forcibly preventing members who were present 
from leaving until the business of the day was concluded 
proved ineffectual ; nor has it ever been possible to devise 
any effective machinery for securing a full attendance of 
members throughout the lifetime of a Parliament, or 
even duriiig a single session. The accurate reporting of 
debates, the publication of the division lists, and the 
fierce light which now beats upon the doings of private 
members, to say nothing of ministers of the Crown, has 
done more to ensure constant attendance than any 
penal resolutions passed by the House in order to meet 
individual cases. 

After an interval of over seven years a new Parlia- 
ment met, not at Westminster, but again in the Great 
Chamber of the Priory at Blackfriars, where now stands 
the Times office. It chose for its Speaker a man in 
the prime of life, the member for Middlesex, no other 
than the great Sir Thomas More, the first las^nan, 
with one exception, to be Chancellor of England. It 
was not his first appearance in the House, for in the 
previous reign he had successfully resisted a grant to the 
King, for which temerity, as it would have been a violation 


I-iviii n .Ih-iiiona! /trass hi Mcyevorth Clnirc/i, Kent 


of the Constitution to punish a member for his vote, More's 
aged father was imprisoned and fined. This truly great 
man may be said to have only flitted across the stage of 
the House of Commons, for the session of 1523 lasted less 
than four months. Short as it was, it is memorable for 
the wholly unconstitutional irruption of Wolsey into the 
Chamber to demand a grant of £800,000^ in order to 
carry on the war with France.^ 

The proposed tax, which was in the nature of a graduated 
toll upon income and property amounting to four shillings 
in the pound upon land and goods, was unparalleled in 
amount, and was stoutly resisted, though More, who 
seems to have considered it justified under the circum- 
stances, urged the House to comply with the royal 
demands. But when the Cardinal entered, after the 
question of his being admitted at all had been debated at 
length, he was met by a chilling and preconcerted silence. 
" Masters," cried Wolsey, " unless it be the manner of 
your House, as in likelihood it is, by the mouth of your 
Speaker whom you have chosen for trusty and wise (as 

' About ;ii2,ooo,ooo at the present computation of money. 

* In Fiddes' Life of Wolsey, 1724, there is a representation, at page 
302, of Henry VIII sitting in Parliament (? at Blackfriars) with the 
Archbishop of Canterbury (Warham), Cardinal Wolsey, the mitred 
Abbots, the Prior of St. John of Jerusalem, and the temporal peers. 
The Clerk of the Parliaments and his assistant are shown kneeling 
behind one of the woolsacks, and the Speaker of the House of Com- 
mons with several members of the Lower House are standing at 
the bar. 

This print, which was communicated to Fiddes by John Anstis, 
Garter, in 1722, bears a striking resemblance to a plate printed in 
Pinkerton's Iconographica Scotica from a drawing formerly in the 
Heralds' College, but not now to be found there, supposed to represent 
Edward I with the King of Scotland, and Llewellyn, Prince of Wales, 
in Parliajnent assembled. It is probably, however, of much later 
date and of little or no historical value. 


indeed he is) in such cases to utter your mind, 
here is, without doubt, a marvellous obstinate silence." 
Falling upon his knees. More replied that though the 
Commons might entertain communications from with- 
out, it was not according to precedent to enter into debate 
with outsiders. 

Thomas Cromwell, the man who, a few years later, 
was more than any other responsible for the spoUation 
of the Church and the degradation of the House of 
Commons, sat in this Parliament for the first time. 
Combining the unpopular profession of a sohcitor with 
the disreputable one of a money-lender, by the double 
experience so gained he made himself the master of the 
secrets of half the aristocracy, including many members 
of both Houses. On the present occasion he was not 
acting under Henry's orders, and he delivered a telling 
speech against the war. Not tiU 13 May did the House 
consent to grant any portion of the land tax, and then 
only a much lesser sum than Wolsey would be satisfied 

The burgesses, who declared that the tax was only in- 
tended to affect the squires and the land, declined to vote 
at all. A few days later the House adjourned for Whit- 
suntide ; but on its reassembUng a proposal that, in 
addition to the sum derived from landed estate, one 
shilling in the pound should be levied on goods was 
supported by the squires, and vehemently opposed by the 
borough members. It was only by the personal interven- 
tion of the Speaker that the differences of the country 
party and the burgesses were composed and the tax 
finally voted. At the close of the session Cromwell 
wrote to a friend : " Ye shall understand that I, 


From a painting at the Speaker s House 


amongst others, have endured a ParUament which 
continued by the space of seventeen whole weeks 
where we communed of war, peace, strife, contention, 
debate, murmur, grudge, riches, poverty, trouble, false- 
hood, justice and equity. . . . Howbeit we have done 
as well as we might and left off where we began." 

After the Great Hall of Blackfriars, the scene of 
Katherine of Arragon's trial before Cardinal Campeggio, 
ceased to be used for Parliamentary purposes, the site 
of the Priory was devoted to various secular uses, and 
many famous names are found in connection with it. 

A theatre, in which no less a man than Shakespeare 
trod the boards, flourished in the old home of the monks 
from the reign of Elizabeth until all theatrical enterprise 
was stifled under the Commonwealth.^ 

Vandyck, on his first coming to London, took a house 
in the precincts, where he had been preceded by Isaac 
Oliver and other painters.. Towards the close of the 
eighteenth century the first John Walter set up his 
logographic press in Printing House Square, and laid the 
foundations of a gigantic instrument of popular enlighten- 
ment — the greatest newspaper the world has ever seen. 
Here, almost on the identical spot where More con- 
fronted Wolsey, Delane sat in the editorial chair of 
The Times for thirty-six arduous years. 

It would be superfluous, if not impertinent, to dwell 
in these pages upon More's subsequent career and tragic 
fate. There is in the Speaker's house a recently ac- 
quired portrait of the great Chancellor in the Holbein 
manner, but it is at best a contemporary copy. Another 

^ Play House Yard preserves the association of the drama with 
Blackfriars to this day. 


Sir Thomas, cast in a very different mould, succeeded More 
as Speaker, and also on the Woolsack. This was Thomas 
Audley, a " sordid slave," according to Lord Campbell, 
whose promotion coincided with Wolsey's disgrace. The 
"Black" or Reformation Parliament, an epoch in our 
national history, met at Westminster in November, 1529, 
and was not dissolved until 1536, so that it was easily the 
longest known to that time. If not actually packed 
with the nominees of the Crown, as far as it was 
possible to control the elections, only candidates hostile 
to the Church were held to be eligible. " With the 
Commons it is nothing but down with the Church," 
said the Bishop of Rochester from his place in 
the House of Lords in the course of the first session. 
While Audley was in the Chair only the outworks of the 
Church were laid siege to, and not till after his transfer 
to the Woolsack, when Sir Humphrey Wingfield became 
Speaker, did the actual severance from Rome take place. ^ 
Audley left no male heir, but his grandson Thomas, 
Earl of Suffolk, ultimately inherited his vast wealth, and 
built Audley End in Essex between 1603 and 1616. It is 
said to be the largest private house in England, and to 
have cost ;f 200,000. The Chancellor died in 1544, and was 
buried in a chapel which he had built at Saffron Walden 
in his native county. An elaborate monument was 

' The Acts contrived by Cromwell in 1533-34 in order to ensure the 
final breach with Rome were four in number : " An Act for the sub- 
mission of the Clergy to the King's Majesty," " An Act restraining the 
payment of annates," -'An Act concerning the exoneration of the 
King's subjects from exactions and impositions heretofore paid to the 
see of Rome, and for having Licences and Dispensations within this 
Realm without suing further for the same," and "An Act declaring 
the establishment of succession of the King's most Royal Majesty in 
the Imperial Crown of this Realm." 


From a fainting at the Speaker's House 


erected to his memory. His portrait in official robes 
with gold-laced sleeves is in the Speaker's house. With 
the exception of that of Sir Thomas More it is the earhest 
in point of date in the collection, but the painting is 
not earlier than the eighteenth century, having prob- 
ably been painted to order with several others of the 

Wingfield, in early life a proteg^ of Wolsey, though not 
otherwise remarkable, deserves mention for his having 
been the first Speaker to sit for a borough constituency. 
Sir Robert Brooke, temp. Mary I, is said by HakewU and 
others to have been the first burgess so honoured, but 
this is inaccurate. Wingfield represented Great Yarmouth 
in 1529, and Sir John Say, who was Speaker in 1448-49, 
had represented the borough of Cambridge before he 
became a Knight of the Shire. The salary received by 
Wingfield was £100 a year. Sprung from an old East 
Anglian family of Brantham Hall, in the county of 
Suffolk, he was educated at Gray's Inn, where his coat 
of arms is still to be seen in a north window of the 

The precedent set in Wingfield's case was soon followed, 
for Sir Richard Rich, of Leigh's Priory, Co. Essex, sat for 
Colchester when elected to the Chair in 1536. Hypocrite, 
perjurer, oppressor, and time-server, he is without manner 
of doubt the most despicable man who ever sat in the 
Chair of the Commons. Shrinking from no infamy so 
long as he was on the winning side, he had a part in 
the fall of Wolsey, the deaths of More (whose con- 
viction was only obtained on Rich's perjured evidence), 
of Fisher, Cromwell, Wriothesley, the Protector 
Somerset, and his brother Lord Seymour of Sudeley 


and of Northumberland. A monster in human shape, 
Rich stretched the rack with his own hands when 
Anne Askew was put to torture in the Tower. ^ 
During the short session of 1536 — ^for it sat httle more 
than a month — Parhament passed an Act by which 
Ehzabeth as well as Mary was declared illegitimate, the 
King having married Jane Seymour shortly before the 
Houses met. 

Before another Parliament was summoned Edward the 
Confessor's golden shrine had been hacked down by 
sacrilegious hands, and the Abbey despoiled of its 
treasures, an irreparable loss to the nation as well as to 
the Church. At the same time the priceless jewelled 
shrine of Becket at Canterbury was totally destroyed, 
and the spoils, which are said to have filled six-and-twenty 
carts, were swept into the royal treasury. The " Regale of 
France," a large diamond which was considered to be one 
of its chief glories, was long worn by Henry as a ring, 
and it is shown on his enormous thumb in some of his 
later portraits. It reappeared in the inventory of Queen 
Mary's jewels, after which date its history cannot be 
traced. Rich was one of the principal gainers through 
the disposition of the monastic lands. Henry VIII gave 
him St. Bartholomew's, Smithfield, as his share of the 
spoils of the Reformation, and he made his town house 
in Cloth Fair. Long known as Warwick House, it was 
standing in quite recent years. 

In the hst of Speakers in the hbrary of the House of 
Commons, the date of Rich's advancement to the Chair 

1 Rich was then Chancellor of the Augmentations, and Wriothesley, 
who was associated with him in the torture of this unfortunate woman, 
was Chancellor. 



From a f>ainthi° in the possession of Major f. JA U ni^/ield, Tickencote Hall, 



is given as 1537, but this is an obvious error, as no Parlia- 
ment was summoned in that year. He resigned the 
Great Seal in 1551, and died in 1567 or 1568.^ There is a 
recumbent effigy of him in Felstead Church, but the 
inscription on the tomb has been destroyed. 

Sir Nicholas Hare, another compliant tool of Henry 
Vni, was Speaker in 1539-40 — in the Parhament 
which passed the atrocious Act known as the " Whip 
with six strings." Hare was also Keeper of the 
Great Seal, though only for fourteen days. There 
is some doubt as to the constituency he represented 
whilst he was Speaker. One of the name sat for 
Downton in 1529, and Hare is supposed to have 
been Knight of the Shire for Norfolk in 1539, though 
the official returns for that year are wanting. He 
was the ancestor of the Hares of Stow Hall in that 
county, having bought the hundred of Clackhouse 
(which included Stow Bardolph) from Lord North in 
1553. Appointed Master of the Rolls in that year, he 
died in Chancery Lane and was buried in the Temple 

It should be mentioned that he was absent during 
part of the session of 1539-40, having been committed 
to the Tower for advising Sir John Skelton how to 
evade the Statute of Uses in his will. This was deemed 
to be an infringement of the royal prerogative. He was 
released in Easter Term, 1540, and, strange to say, his 
imprisonment does not seem to have been considered a 

* The Dictionary of National Biography gives the earUer and the 
Complete Peerage the later date, and they are also at variance as to 
the year of his birth. The Earls of Warwick and Holland were de- 
scended from him, hence the name of Warwick House, Smithfield. 


breach of privilege. To such a degree of subserviency 
was the House reduced that even the imprisonment of 
its Speaker passed without remonstrance. 

The next Parhament, which passed the Act for the 
Reformation of Rehgion, chose for its Speaker Sir Thomas 
Moyle. Originally a Cornish family, the Moyles migrated 
to Kent in the fifteenth century. In Queen Mary's reign 
Sir Thomas posed as a true friend of the Reformation, 
and vacated his seat rather than support the policy of 
Rome. He died at Eastwell, near Ashford, in 1560, and 
his youngest daughter married Sir Thomas Finch, the 
progenitor of the Earls of Winchilsea and Nottingham, 
thus carrying the estate into a family which gave two 
subsequent Speakers to the House of Commons. During 
Moyle's Speakership occurs an early use of the well-known 
term " Member of Parliament." Henry VIII, writing 
to the Deputy and Council of Ireland, apropos of O'Brien, 
Earl of Thomond, said : " But you must remember that 
the heir of the Earl of Thomond from henceforth must 
abide his time to be admitted as a Member of our Parlia- 
ment till his father or parent shall be deceased, and to 
be only a hearer standing bareheaded at the bar beside 
the Cloth of Estate as the young Lords do here in our 
realm of England." ^ 

It has been thought that Rich again filled the Chair in 
Henry's ninth and last Parliament, but from an entry 
which the present writer found in the Registers of the 
Privy Council, it appears that Sir John Baker, whom 
previous writers have not noticed in this connection until 
the reign of Edward VI, was the next to hold the 
office. February 7, 1546-47. " Also Sir John Baker had 

1 state Papers, III, 395. 

//,7/i( H,'lh!in. dell. 



h')-oin a f'lnit 


warrant to the Treasurer and Chamberlains of the 
Exchequer for £100 to be given to him in considera- 
tion of his service in the room of Speaker in the last 
session of the Parliament as hath been heretofore ac- 
customed." It was also customary for the Speaker to 
receive an allowance for his diet, five pounds for every 
private Bill passed by both Houses, and five pounds 
for every name in any Bill for denizens, unless he 
agreed to accept less. [Harleian Miscellany, Vol. IV, 
page 561.] On Christmas Eve, 1545, Henry made the 
last of his many speeches to Parliament, urging the 
nation to' religious unity, and on 31 January, 1546-47, 
the day that Wriothesley announced the King's death, 
only just in time to save the Duke of Norfolk from a 
traitor's death. Parliament was dissolved. 

Sir John Baker, who was re-elected Speaker in 
Edward VI 's first Parliament, was the head of an old 
Kentish family seated at Sissinghurst, near Cranbrook, 
He erected a castle, long since dismantled, on a com- 
manding site overlooking the Weald. Originally a 
quadrangular edifice of great extent and profusely 
ornamented in the Tudor style, it has fallen by gradual 
stages from its former high estate until Uttle remains of 
Speaker Baker's building with the exception of one 
wing, now converted into cottages and stabling, and a 
lofty tower, of somewhat unusual design, capped by two 
conical turrets. 

After being bred to the Law, Baker was sent Am- 
bassador to Denmark by Henry VIII, and, in the same 
year in which he was called to the Chair, ^ he became 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, a post which he continued 

' 1545- 


to fill until the death of Queen Mary in 1558. His zeal 
for the Roman faith coinciding with a ruthless persecu- 
tion of Kentish Protestants caused him to be known and 
execrated throughout the Weald as " Bloody Baker." 
Some of his hapless neighbours, after being arraigned 
before him, were burnt at Maidstone for their religious 
convictions, and it is said that, having procured an order 
from the Privy Council for sending yet two more to the 
stake, it was only at the last moment that their lives were 
miraculously spared. The ex-Speaker was riding towards 
Cranbrook with full intent to carry his sinister purpose 
into effect, when, at a spot where three roads meet, known 
to this day as Baker's Cross, the bells of the parish church 
intimated to him that Elizabeth had ascended the throne. 

Sir John Baker died in London in 1558, but his body 
was brought down to Cranbrook and buried with great 
ceremony in the church there. A monument erected to 
his memory was accidentally destroyed in 1725 when, 
on opening the family vault, a portion of the middle aisle 
fell down owing to the loosening of one of the supporting 

The Bakers ceased to be connected with Sissinghurst 
in the eighteenth century, and the dilapidated castle 
came into the possession of Horace Walpole's correspon- 
dent, Sir Horace Mann. During the Seven Years' War 
it was used as a place of confinement for French prisoners, 
as many as three thousand being horded together in it 
at one time. After their withdrawal in 1763 it was un- 
inhabited for about twenty years, and in 1784 the paro- 
chial authorities hired the premises from Sir Horace Mann 
for the purpose of a poor-house. 

With the dissolution of the ecclesiastical houses the 


IS45. 1547 

From a draivin^ m the National Portrait Gallery 


long and intimate connection between the Abbey and 
the House of Commons came to an end. It ceased to 
meet in the precincts of St. Peter's and took possession 
of the disused Chapel of St. Stephen in the Palace of 
Westminster. It met there for the first time on 4 Novem- 
ber, 1547, and by a singular coincidence the city of 
Westminster now first obtained separate representation 
in the House. ^ 

The posthumous generosity of Henry VIII involved a 
heavy charge on the Exchequer, and, Somerset's ambitious 
policy entailing great expense, such old devices as tamper- 
ing with the coinage were once more resorted to, and 
endeavours were made to persuade Parliament to grant 
the King the lands held by guilds and fraternities, and 
to sell them in order to supply the pressing necessities of 
the Government. 

But the new House of Commons was not quite so 
subservient as some of its predecessors, and it became 
necessary for the State to come to terms with the most 
determined opponents of the measure in the House. 
From entries in the Registers of the Privy Council we 
gather that systematic obstruction and many of the 
devices of modem Parliamentary tactics were not un- 
known. Ljmn and Coventry were two boroughs princi- 
pally affected, and the Council came to the conclusion 
that " the article for the guildable lands should be dashed" 
(this being the current phraseology for the rejection of a 
BUI or one of its articles or clauses), since " the time of the 

' The Journals of the House begin with this Parliament ; on the 
first page Baker's election to the Chair is recorded, but the appoint- 
ments of several subsequent Speakers are unnoticed in their pages, 
and the earlier Journals are, in many respects, of a fragmentary 


prorogation being hard at hand the whole body of the 
Act might sustain peril unless by some good policy the 
principal speakers against the passing of that article 
might be stayed. "^ History has a habit of repeating 
itself, and three hundred years later than Protector 
Somerset, ministers of the Crown have often had occasion 
to resort to very similar measures in "staying" loqua- 
cious members, so that unpopular " articles " in Govern- 
ment Bills should not be " dashed." 

Early in 1549 the Act of Uniformity passed through 
both Houses and the celebration of the Mass in England 
was prohibited after the month of May. At the dissolution 
in 1552 the Privy Council directed the payment of fifty 
marks to John Seymour, " Clerk of the Lower House of 
Parliament," for his pains (and in 1554 he received the 
same sum), but it is not stated that the Speaker received 
any reward for his services.^ 

The second and last Parliament of Edward VI, like so 

many of its predecessors, was a packed assembly. Sir 

James Dyer,^ who appears to have been the willing 

tool of Northumberland, then at the zenith of his 

power, was its Speaker. The House only sat for a 

month, and almost the only Act of importance which it 

passed was one for the suppression of the Bishopric of 

Durham. Speaker Dyer's portrait in judge's robes, for 

he became Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in 1560, 

in which capacity he was noted for an incorruptible 

integrity, has recently been added to the National Portrait 


^ Acts of the Privy Council, 6 May, 1548. 
2 Ibid., 15 May, 1552. 

= Youngest son of Richard Dyer, of Wincanton and Roundhill, Co. 

^l^r iflH^^'^ ^H 


tt ^^^^H 



Reproduced from an original fainting iii the possession of Canon Mayo, of Long Btifton, 



From a drawing at the National Portrait Gallery 


From a drawing in the National Portrait Gallery 


Just as the country seemed to be settling down into 
Protestantism, a state of affairs which coincided with the 
apportionment of the remaining lands of the Church 
amongst the members of the Privy Council, Edward VI, 
whose health had long been precarious, grew suddenly 
worse, and on 6 July, 1553, he died. The Council, 
controlled by the Duke of Northumberland, who wished 
to place his daughter-in-law. Lady Jane Grey, on the 
throne, were anxious to keep Mary misinformed as to 
her brother's death. But from Kenninghall, whither 
she had summoned Sir Clement Heigham, a staunch 
Catholic and a subsequent Speaker of the House of 
Commons, Mary sent a spirited message to the Council 
in London asserting her rights, and from that moment 
the tide of pubhc opinion turned in her favour. She 
set up her standard at Framlingham, was proclaimed 
Queen at Norwich, and within a month she entered 
London in triumph. 

On I October she was crowned at Westminster amidst 
every sign of popular rejoicing. Five days later her first 
Parliament met and at once proceeded to repeal the laws 
concerning rehgion passed under her predecessor and to 
declare the Queen legitimate. The new Speaker was Sir 
John Pollard, the second son of Walter Pollard, of Ply- 
mouth, by Avice, daughter of Richard Pollard of Way, 
Co. Devon. Parliament was dissolved early in December, 
after requesting the Queen to marry, and suggesting that 
she should choose her husband from amongst the Enghsh 
nobihty, for the possibility of union with Philip of Spain 
was strongly resented. Mary returned a diplomatic 
answer, denying the right of the House to influence her 
choice, but declaring that her sole wish was to secure her 


people's happiness as well as her own. Immediately 
afterwards she entered upon the final negotiations for her 
marriage to Philip. 

Pollard was re-elected Speaker in October, 1555. and 
during the session an Act was passed to restore some at 
least of the Church property alienated by Henry VIII. It 
was only carried in the Lower House by 193 to 126, but 
in the Lords only two peers voted against it. Mach3ni 
records the burial of Sir John Pollard on 25 August, 
1557. but he omits to mention the- place of interment. 
Sir Robert Brooke was Speaker of Mary's second Par- 
liament, summoned to ratify the Queen's contract of 
marriage. Of a Shropshire family, he was the first Speaker 
to sit for the City of London. He died in 1558, and in 
the chancel of Claverley Church near Wolverhampton a 
stately monument to his memory was erected. Sir Clement 
Heigham, an intimate friend of the Queen, was Speaker 
of her third Parliament (the first of Philip and Mary). 
It was opened in great state by Mary and her consort 
in person, who rode on horseback from Whitehall to 
Westminster. Two days later, his attainder having been 
reversed, Cardinal Pole arrived at Westminster in his 
state barge, bearing the Legatine emblem of a silver cross 
at the prow. Between the dissolution of this Parliament 
and the end of the reign three hundred heretics were burnt 
at Smithfield and other places. 

Much the same precautions were taken to secure the 
return of members acceptable to the Court as had been 
taken by Henry VIII. The sheriffs were enjoined only 
to return such as were resident in the constituencies, a 
regulation well worthy of imitation at the present day, 
and " men given to good order. Catholic, and discreet." 



From apo7-ti-ait at St. John's College^ Oxford 


In the year in which Calais was lost, Queen Mary, sick at 
heart at Philip's desertion, met her last Parliament. She 
opened it in person after attending Mass in the Abbey. 
Sir William Cordell, of Long Melford, Suffolk, member for 
the county, was chosen Speaker. The session was not in 
any way remarkable, and, after granting a subsidy, the 
Houses were prorogued from March till November. The 
Commons on their reassembly were about to consider a 
Bill for the limitation of the powers of the Press, a new 
subject to engage the attention of the legislature, when 
the Queen's fatal illness brought the sittings to an abrupt 
termination. Cordell became Master of the Rolls, and 
held that lucrative office for nearly a quarter of a century. 
From that time forward the Speakership came to be re- 
garded by ambitious lawyers as a stepping-stone to high 
legal preferment. The spacious days of Queen Elizabeth 
saw ten Parliaments and eleven Speakers; all of them 
without exception were lawyers.^ 

The tenure of the Chair, even for a single session, served 
as a bridge to higher legal honours. Nor is the reason far 
to seek. Whilst the majority were men in good practice 
at the Bar, the emoluments of the Chair at the close of the 
sixteenth century were so small that the natural trend of 
their ambition was towards the better-paid offices of the 
profession. Including the great Sir Thomas More, five 
Speakers have risen to the Woolsack either as Chancellor 
or Keeper of the Great Seal : Audley, Rich, Puckering, and 
Heneage Finch, whilst Hare, Lenthall, and Whitelocke 
were Commissioners during vacancy. Seven became 
Masters of the Rolls : Hare, Cordell, Phelips, Lenthall, 
Grimston, Trevor, and Powle. More numerous still have 

• The same was the case in the two succeeding reigns. 


been the instances in which the post of Chief Justice of the 
King's Bench or the Common Pleas has been conferred on 
a former Speaker. Sir James Dyer, Sir Robert Brooke, 
Sir Christopher Wray, Sir John Popham, Sir Edward 
Coke, Sir John Croke, Sir Randolph Crewe, Sir Thomas 
Richardson, and Sir Job Charlton filled one or other of 
these coveted places, whilst Barons of the Exchequer and 
Recorders of London are to be found in plenty in the 
catalogue. For 170 years the Speakership was farmed 
by the Law, and that during the least glorious period of 
its history. When Sir John Trevor was expelled the 
House in 1695 for taking bribes he was allowed to re- 
main Master of the Rolls. 

So many Speakers had lived in Chancery Lane that 
in the seventeenth century the Rolls House came to be 
looked upon as the official residence of the presiding 
officer of the Commons sooner or later in his career. 
This house, which was pulled down to make way for 
an extension of the Public Record^^ Of&ce, was designed 
by Colin Campbell in the reign of George I to replace 
an earher structure on the same site. It was a 
comfortable, rambUng building large enough to accom- 
modate a big family. A good story is told of Sir 
William Grant in connection with it. When his successor 
arrived, the great Judge personally conducted him over 
the ground floor. " Here are two or three good rooms : 
this is my sitting-room; my library and bedroom are 
beyond ; and I am told there are some good rooms 
upstairs, but I never was there myself." 

The illegal system of State monopolies, ^ which originated 

1 A monopoly conferred the right of selling articles at a higher price 
than could have been obtained under a system of competition. 


From a pahiting in the possession 0/ Mi/nn- Gibson Gery Culluin, Esq. 


under the Tudors, was perpetuated and extended by the 
Stuarts. These encroachments on the liberty of the 
subject provided a convenient means of raising money 
without the consent of Parliament, and tended, as much 
as anything, to produce that rooted antagonism to the 
misuse of the royal prerogative which characterised the 
House of Commons in the first half of the seventeenth 
century. The valuable collections of Sir Symonds 
D'Ewes, supplemented by the Registers of the Privy 
Council, throw a lurid light on the proceedings of 
Parliament in the reign of Elizabeth. 

As a rule, the Speaker was elected by the unanimous 
vote of the House, but the appointment of Richard 
Onslow is an early instance, perhaps the earliest, of a 
contested election to the Chair. On i October, 1566, he 
was chosen by eighty-two votes to sixty, and though he 
pleaded as an excuse for serving the necessity of his 
attendance in the House of Lords as Solicitor-General, 
the House decided that he might fill the two ofl&ces 
concurrently. Onslow, the first of three Speakers of his 
name and family, married Katherine Hardinge in 1559, 
whose father lived at Knowle, Cranley, Surrey, and from 
him the Earls of Onslow are descended. 

His brother Fulk was Clerk of the House at the time 
of Richard's election, and in that capacity it fell to his 
lot to record the result of the division. Richard Onslow's 
town house was in Blackfriars, so that he was doubtless 
in the habit of proceeding to Westminster in his state 
barge, as the roads leading to the House were still un- 
suited to the passage of a heavy coach in bad weather. 

An interesting account of the arrangement of the House 
of Commons as Richard Onslow knew it was prepared in 


1568 by Hooker, a well-known antiquarian writer of the 
day, for the use of the then Speaker of the Irish Parlia- 
ment. "The Lower House, as it is called, is a place 
distinct from the other : it is more of length than of 
breadth ; it is made like a theatre, having four rows 
of seats one above another round about the same. 
At the higher end, in the middle of the lower row, is 
a seat made for the Speaker, in which he always sitteth ; 
before it is a table board, at which sitteth the Clerk of 
the House, and thereupon layeth his books, and writeth 
his records. Upon the lower row, on both sides the 
Speaker, sit such personages as be of the King's Privy 
Council, or of his chief of&cers ; ^ but as for any other, 
none claimeth nor can claim any place, but sitteth as he 
cometh, saving that on the right hand of the Speaker, 
next beneath the said counsels, the Londoners and the 
citizens of York do sit, and so in order should sit all the 
citizens accordingly ; without this House is one other, 
in which the under clerks do sit, as also such as be suitors 
and attendant to that House. And whensoever the House 
is divided upon any Bill, then the room is voided, and 
the one part of the House cometh down into this place to 
be numbered." Here is indicated the origin of the outer 
lobby, and the primitive manner of taking divisions 
under the Tudors. 

St. Stephen's Chapel, in addition to its still-existing 
crypt, had also an attic storey in which were kept the 
manuscript records of Parliament. A great clearance of 
these was made in the time of the Commonwealth, when 
Scobell, the then Clerk of the House, was found to have 
carried many of them away to his own house. 

1 An early mention of the front Government and Opposition 


From n memorial I'rass at Harford L liilrch, Do; 


From a painting in the A ati07ial Portrait Gallery 


Richard Onslow died of a pestilent fever in 1571, and 
was buried at St. Chad's Church, Shrewsbury, where a 
monument with the effigies of himself and his wife was 
erected. Sir Robert Bell, a Norfolk gentleman, who was 
Speaker from 1572 to 1575-76, met with a somewhat 
similar end. Having been made Chief Baron of the 
Exchequer, in succession to Sir Edward Saunders, he 
died, at the Oxford summer assizes, of gaol fever, con- 
tracted whilst presiding at the trial of a bookseller for 
slandering the Queen. 

Of Sir John Popham, Speaker from 1580-81 to 1583, 
the first Balliol man to fill the Chair, a witty saying is 
recorded by Bacon. The Commons had sat a long 
time without achieving much in the way of legislation, 
and when the Queen asked him : " What hath passed 
in the House, Mr. Speaker ? " he made answer : " May 
it please Your Majesty, seven weeks ! " He acted as 
Prosecutor for the Crown at the trial of Mary, Queen 
of Scots, and only in this present year, 1910, the 
original document signed by Ehzabeth prescribing the 
payment of £100 as "blood money" for his services 
on that occasion was sold by auction in London. 

In his oration on his elevation to the Chair, Popham 
advised his fellow-members " to use reverent and dis- 
creet speeches, to leave curiosity of form, and to 
speak to the matter." Further, as the Parliament was 
likely to be a short one, to avoid superfluous argu- 

Increased respect was now beginning to be paid to the 
Chair, and a motion was made by the Comptroller of the 
Household and universally approved by which the 
residue of the House " of the better sort of calling " 


were enjoined, at the conclusion of each day's sitting, 
" to depart and come forth in comely and civil sort," 
curtseying to the Speaker on leaving, and not thrusting 
and thronging "as of late time hath been disorderly 
used." Members were further required to keep their 
servants, pages, and lacqueys attending on them in good 
order. 1 

In the course of the same session D'Ewes makes 
mention of a concession by the House at large to the 
Serjeant-at-Arms, who was infirm, but without specify- 
ing the occasion. " The House being moved did grant 
that the Serjeant, who was to go before the Speaker, 
being weak and somewhat pained in his limbs, might ride 
upon a foot-cloth nag." Although he appears to have 
ruled the House wisely, Popham's attitude in the Chair 
was occasionally unfavourably commented upon, a 
Mr. Cope complaining, on one occasion, that Mr. Speaker 
" in some such matters as he hath favoured, but without 
licence of this House, hath spoken to a Bill, and in some 
other cases which he did not favour and like of, he 
would prejudice the speeches of other members." 

Probably a descendant of the Popham who was 
Speaker in 1449, his legal knowledge is embodied in his 
well-known volume of " Reports and Cases." His por- 
trait, by an unknown artist, in the National Portrait 
Gallery, represents him as a benevolent-looking old man 
of sixty-eight. 

Sir John Puckering, Speaker from 1584-86, and again 
from 1586-87, is not mentioned in the official Commons 
Journals (which indeed contain no record of the proceed- 
ings of any of the later Parliaments of Elizabeth), but 

^ D'Ewes, Journals of Elizabeth, 1682 edition, p. 282. 

From a painting in the Speakers House 

SIB. mUBKTRT TRKliiU , X'^^' 


l-'yoin a print 


deserves more than passing notice here. When he was 
voted to the Chair for the second time Parliament had 
been especially convened to consider the verdict in the trial 
of Mary, Queen of Scots. Elizabeth sent an order to the 
Commons by her Vice-Chamberlain^ requiring that no 
laws should be made in the course of the session, " there 
being many more already than could be well executed." 
A compliant House was only too willing to endorse the 
views of the advisers of the Crown, and after the prelimi- 
naries of meeting had been disposed of. Puckering put the 
House in remembrance of its duty to deal forthwith with 
what he hypocritically described as " The Great Cause," 
recommended to its consideration by the Queen. In the 
debate which followed, Francis Bacon made his maiden 
speech and the Speaker was unanimously directed to 
wait upon Ehzabeth and to urge her to comply with the 
findings of the House against her prisoner. 

The Queen received Puckering in audience at Rich- 
mond,* when he submitted a petition calling for Mary's 
speedy execution, using many " excellent and sohd 
reasons," in a memorial written with his own hand, why 
her life should be taken. Of these reasons the one 
which weighed most with Elizabeth was that which 
declared that Mary was " greedy for her death," and 
preferred it before her own life or safety. The House 
adjourned over Christmas, and before it could meet 
again* the last act in the long-drawn tragedy of Fotherin- 
gay had taken place. In after days Puckering was 
rewarded for his complaisant servility by being made 
Keeper of the Great Seal. In the Upper House he 

» Sir Christopher Hatton. ' 13 November. 

• On 15 February. 


deserted the Commons' cause when in his reply to Coke's 
demand for the ancient privileges of the House he replied 
in overbearing terms, " Your right of free speech is not to 
say anything that pleaseth you and come out with what- 
soever may be your thought. Your right of free speech is 
the right of Aye or No." 

Puckering hved at Kew, where he entertained the 
Queen, who was graciously pleased to take away a knife 
and fork as a memento of her visit. When in town he 
lived at Russell House, near Ivy Bridge, on the south 
side of the Strand. The Hotel Cecil now covers the site. 
He was buried in Westminster Abbey, the second in 
the long catalogue of Speakers to be so honoured. A 
ponderous monument, erected by his widow in the 
Chapel of St. Paul, with effigies of both husband and 
wife, may still be seen. 

Rather less than justice has been done by Parlia- 
mentary historians to Serjeant Thomas Snagge, who was 
Speaker in 1588-89, in the Parliament summoned by 
Elizabeth, after the defeat of the Armada, to place the 
country in a state of security in the event of a renewal 
of Spanish aggression. Coming as he did after Puckering, 
who became Keeper of the Great Seal, and immediately 
before Coke, whose effulgence overshadowed his more 
modest attainments, Snagge, though he never reached 
the judicial bench, seems to have been an excellent 
public servant and a man in advance of his time in advo- 
cating the simplification of legal phraseology in the 
drafting of Acts of Parhament. Though a staunch 
supporter of the royal prerogative, he was less subser- 
vient to the Court than the majority of his predecessors, 
which may account for his having been passed over. 


1 580- 1 

From a fainting in the National Portrait Gallery 

i''J!liii!ill!l!lii!iii!l '':lililli'lih'»;'"Vl'HiiN^ 

F. Cell:, sculpt. 

■ 15S4, I5S6 
is toiiih ill II cstmutstir AH'C_ 

From his toiit' 

From a f^rinl 


whilst less scrupulous members of his profession were 
raised to hereditary honours. His speech to the throne, 
on presentation as Speaker for the royal approval, 
compares very favourably with the bombastic language 
employed by Coke on a similar occasion. 

The son of Thomas Snagge, of Letchworth — the "garden 
city " of the twentieth century — a gentleman bearing arms 
at the Heralds' Visitation of Hertfordshire in 1572, he 
acquired a large landed estate by his marriage with 
Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Thomas Decons, of 
Marston-Morteyne, in the county of Bedford, and became 
a wealthy man independently of his professional emolu- 
ments. He was bred to the law at Gray's Inn, where he 
formed the acquaintance of Walsingham, and the first 
mention to be found of his Parliamentary services is on 
7 April, 1 571, when he was appointed to serve on a 
Committee which met in the Star Chamber to consider 
the subsidy to be granted to the Queen. At this time 
he sat for Bedfordshire, though at the time of his 
promotion to the Chair he represented the borough, 
while his eldest son, also Thomas Snagge, sat for the 
county. His brother, Robert Snagge, had also been a 
member of the House in 1571. 

In the course of the session he made speeches advocating 
the use of simpler language in the making of laws, " where- 
by all entrapments should be shunned and avoided," an 
enlightened view, coming from the source which it did. 
He also spoke at some length on the difficult question 
of Simony.^ Probably through Walsingham's influence 
he was made Attorney-General for Ireland in 1577. 
The Lord Deputy, Henry Sidney, had written to the 

' D'Ewes, Journals of Elizabeth, pp. 163 and 165. 


Privy Council in England to say that there were no 
lawyers in that country capable of filling the post, with 
the exception of Sir Lucas Dillon, the Chief Baron. 

The Queen's choice fell upon Thomas Snagge, and in a 
letter, dated from Oatlands in September, 1577, she wrote 
that she was " sufficiently persuaded of his learning and 
judgment," and that he was to have £100 a year in addi- 
tion to his fees, and the wages of two horsemen and three 
footmen. Moreover, " forasmuch as for an infirmity 
taken by an extreme cold he hath once in the year used 
his body to the bajmes in England, the continuance 
whereof was requisite to his health," he was to be at 
liberty to repair to Bath once a year for six weeks " at 
such time of vacation as may best agree with his cure 
and be least hindrance to the public service." 

In sending Snagge's Patent of Appointment to Sidney, 
Walsingham wrote as follows : " The Dutye that he 
oweth to Her Majestic and his Countrye doth make him 
leave all other Respects and willinglie to dedicate him- 
self to that Service, for the which I find him a Man 
so chosen both for Judgement and bould Spirit ... as 
hardly all the Howses of Court could jdeld his hke." ^ 

Snagge's first letter to Walsingham is dated from 
Holyhead, to which he had been driven back by stress 
of weather. In it he mentions that his journey had 
already cost him forty-eight pounds, and he feared that 
it would cost him eight pounds more. But on 7 Novem- 
ber he wrote from Dublin, sa3dng that " he had seen 
what there is to be seen concerning the course of law 
in Ireland, which I find to be but a bare shadowe of 
Westminster Hall." A little later he is found com- 

' Collins, Letters and Memorials of State, i. 228. 


At Marston-Morteyne, Beds. 
Front a liraivirig 


plaining of the conduct of the Master of the Rolls in 
Ireland, whom he found to be " very neghgent in his 
office, which greatly hindereth Her Majesty. I can get 
nothing of him but fayre words, and he hath not delivered 
into the Exchequer these 3 yeares past any estreates for 
things which passed the seale." He also told Walsing- 
ham that the same official would, in his opinion, " do 
more hurt in this Commonwealth than all the rest 
of the counseyle can do good." 

The Lord Deputy, who was then engaged in the con- 
genial task of crushing Desmond's rebeUion, appears to 
have thought highly of Snagge's capacity, and he wrote 
to the Privy Council from Dublin Castle .^ "I find him 
a man well learned, sufficient stoute and well-spoken, 
an instrument of good service for Her Majesty, and such 
as is carefiill to redresse by wisdome and good discretion 
such errors as he findeth in H.M.'s courts here, so that 
by his presence I find myself well assisted, and I humbly 
thank your Lordships for the sending of him unto me," 
adding, significantly enough, that more of his sort were 
then needed in Ireland. 

In 1578 Snagge was still complaining of the dis- 
service done to the Queen's Government by the ineffi- 
ciency of the officials of Dublin Castle, and the Chief 
Remembrancer in particular, whose office he described 
as being the key of all the services touching the revenue, 
" the wrong turning whereof hath greatly hindered the 
good I would have done in my service, and, to be plain, 
if the place is not filled with a special man it is in vain 
to send over any in my place to serve here." On his 
return to England Snagge was rewarded by being 

* On November 26, 1 577. 


made one of Her Majesty's Serjeants - at - Law, and 
resumed his attendance in Parliament. Nor were Wal- 
singham and Sidney the only ministers of the Crown 
whose confidence he enjoyed. 

Lord Treasurer Burghley, another celebrity hailing 
from Gray's Inn in its most glorious days, signed himself 
" Your loving friend " in a letter which he addressed to 
the Speaker shortly after his elevation to the Chair. 
This document, which is preserved in the Public Record 
Office, is reproduced in facsimile on the adjoining page, 
and deserves to be inserted here, as it contains an early 
allusion to the state of public business in the House of 
Commons, and reveals the anxiety of the Government 
of the day to secure the passage of the measures referred 
to in an accompanying schedule : — 

" Mr. Speaker, 

" I praie you consider of this note which I had of 
my Lord Chancellor,^ and to cause the Clerk of the 
Lower House to sett down how theie stande at this dale 
in their Readinge, etc. 

" Your loving friend, 
" W. Burghley, xv Martii, 1588-P9]." 

Fulk Onslow, brother of the Speaker of 1566, was the 
person referred to by the Lord Treasurer. 

Speaker Snagge died in 1593, and was buried in a 
sumptuous alabaster tomb at Marston-Morteyne adorned 
with the recumbent ef&gies of himself and his wife. 
Manning, writing in 185 1, erroneously supposed that 
the male line of the family was extinct ; but the present 
Sir Thomas Snagge, Judge of County Courts, is the 

' Sir Christopher Hatton. 


representative head of this ancient family and tenth in 
descent from the Speaker of 1588-89. ^ 

Sir Edward Coke, Hke Sir Thomas More, now crossed 
the stage of Parliament. He was Speaker for less than 
two months, and it was not until the evening of his days, 
and after he had been out of the House for twenty-seven 
years, that he re-entered it, as an independent member, to 
become the foremost champion of the liberties of the 
subject. His Parliamentary fame therefore belongs 
rather to the Stuart period and will be treated of in the 
next chapter. What httle is known of Coke's attitude 
in the Chair during the few weeks in which he was 
Speaker is mainly due to the collections of the inde- 
fatigable Sir Symonds D'Ewes. His speech (or speeches, 
for he made two), on presentation for the royal approval, 
differed in no material degree from the language of 
extravagant metaphor employed by most of his prede- 
cessors, and showed little of the independence and 
courage which marked the later years of his career. 
Although anxious to pose as the faithful servant of the 
House, he seems to have misconceived the true function 
of the Speaker's office, and never to have been able to 
forget that he was also the Queen's Solicitor-General. 
Likening himself with mock humility to untimely fruit 
" not yet ripe, but a bud scarcely blossomed," ^ he 
expressed the fear that Her Majesty " amongst so many 
fair fruit had plucked in him a shaking leaf." 

The Lord Keeper, Puckering, answered him in similar 

* The illustration of Speaker's Snagge's monument was kindly sup- 
plied to the author, together with much interesting genealogical infor- 
mation, by Sir Thomas Snagge, from a drawing by G. Wilson, of 
Messrs. Farmer and Brindley, Lambeth. 

• Coke was now in his forty-second year. 


strain, and in his second oration, the new Speaker, after 
a complimentary reference to Elizabeth's late successes 
over her enemies the Pope and the King of Spain, passed 
in rapid review the legislative achievements of every reign 
since that of Henry III. But, as Coke was notoriously 
careless in verif5dng his references, even his great and 
acknowledged erudition could hardly have prevented 
him from making many mistakes in attempting such an 
epitome of Parliamentary history. He also spoke of 
there being already so many laws that they might properly 
be termed Elephantine Leges, saying that to make more 
would seem superfluous were it not that the malice of 
" our arch-enemy the Devil " required the passing of 
measures designed to counteract his evil influence. He 
concluded with the usual formal requests for liberty of 
speech, freedom from arrest, and access to the Sovereign. 
To which Puckering, an even greater sycophant, 
having received fresh instructions from the .Queen, made 
the singular reply already mentioned ^ in which he defined 
his latest interpretation of the right of free speech. 

Two days later Coke was suddenly taken ill and could 
not attend the sittings of the House. " On Saturday 
24 February the House being set, and a great number 
of the members of the same assembled, Mr. Speaker not 
then as yet being come to the House, some said to one 
another, they heard he was sick; and one affirmed 
it to be so indeed, showing that he had been with him 
this morning himself, and left him sick in his bed,^ and 
his physician and his wife with him ; and some others 

' At page 142 of this volume. 

" At his house in Serjeant's Inn, Fleet Street, for he did not remove 
to Holborn until|his second marriage. 


From a painting at Holkham 


supposing that he would shortly signify unto this House 
the cause of that his absence, moved that the Clerk ^ might 
in the meantime proceed to saying of the Litany and 
Prayers. Which being so done accordingly the Serjeant 
of this House, presently after the said prayers finished, 
brought word from Mr. Speaker unto the Rt. Hon. Sir 
John WooUey, Kt., one of H.M.'s most honourable 
Privy Council, and a member of this House and then 
present, that he had been this last night and also was this 
present forenoon so extremely pained with a wind in 
his stomach and looseness of body, that he could not as 
yet without his further great peril and danger adventure 
into the air at this time, which otherwise most willingly 
he would have done." Whereon : " all the said members 
of this House being very sorry for Mr. Speaker, his sick- 
ness, rested well satisfied. And so the House did rise, 
and every man departed away." * 

His recovery must have been as rapid as his indis- 
position was sudden. On the 27th of the same month, 
when he returned to the Chair, he dealt a blow against 
the advocates of complete religious liberty by ensur- 
ing the postponement of an inconvenient debate which 
had been sprung upon the House in connection with 
the abuses prevailing in the Ecclesiastical Courts. An 
unequal contest was in progress between the Crown 
and a numerous section of the House which sought to 
prevent the Bishops and Ecclesiastical Judges from 
applying the penal laws originally directed against the 
Papists to the Puritan Clergy. The subtlety which he 
had acquired in the practice of the law enabled Coke, 

» Fulk Onslow. 

* Sir S3mionds D'Ewes, Journals of Queen Elizabeth's Reign, p. 470. 


knowing as he did the Queen's wishes, so to utilise and 
amplify the forms of the House as to serve what he 
conceived to be the royal interests without, at the same 
time, alienating from himself the confidence of the 
assembly over which he presided. 

A Mr. Morris, Attorney of the Court of Wards, brought 
forward a Bill to protect the Puritans from harsh eccle- 
siastical jurisdiction, and its reception by the House 
was not unfavourable. Sir Francis KnoUys, the Treasurer 
of the Household, and Oliver St. John ^ supported it, 
whilst Sir Robert Cecil ^ and Doctor William Lewin, 
M.P. for Rochester and a judge of the Prerogative Court 
of Canterbury, inveighed against it. Coke, who owed 
much of his early advancement to the Cecil family 
and to Lord Burghley in particular, dexterously pre- 
vented the House from coming to an immediate 
decision, by stating that the Bill was too complex for 
him to comprehend its full meaning on such short 
notice, and by asking leave to consider its provisions 
in private on the understanding that he would keep them 
secret. The Bill was accordingly left in his hands for 
perusal. But the House at large had not foreseen the 
dangers of procrastination so adroitly recommended to it 
by an expert in the manipulation of precedent. The 
Queen forthwith sent for the Speaker to St. James's 
Palace and commanded hini to deliver a message to the 
Body of the Realm, as she was pleased to describe the 
House of Commons, peremptorily forbidding its Members 

1 Afterwards first Viscount Grandison and Lord High Treasurer of 
Ireland in 1625. 

' Raised to the Peerage in the next reign as Viscount Cranborne 
and Earl of Salisbury, the well-known builder of Hatfield House. 


to meddle in matters of State policy or in ecclesiastical 

That the Coke of 1593 was a wholly different man from 
the fearless champion of liberty which his many admirers 
assert that he became after his final estrangement from 
the atmosphere of the Court, is apparent from the speech 
which he made to the House in commendation of the 
royal message. In it he stands revealed as the docile 
servant of the Crown, whilst endeavouring, with scant 
success, to justify himself to the House for having dis- 
closed the contents of the Bill to the Queen. 

" I must be short, for Her Majesty's words were not 
many, and I may, perhaps, fail in the delivery of them. 
For though^my auditors be great, yet who is so impudent 
whom the presence of such a Majesty could not appal ? 
Her Majesty did not require the Bill of me, this only she 
required of me, what were the things in the Bill spoken 
of by the House ? Which points I only delivered as they 
that heard me can tell. . . . Her Majesty's express 
commandment is that no Bill touching the said matters 
of State or Reformation in causes ecclesiastical be ex- 
hibited. And, upon my allegiance, I am commanded, if 
any such Bill be exhibited, not to read it." 

Not only was the Bill quashed, but Mr. Morris, the 
unfortunate sponsor of it, was sent for to the Court, and 
committed to the custody of the Chancellor of the 
, Exchequer.^ Later in the same session there was a 
serious disagreement, perhaps the most remarkable 
since 1407, between the two Houses as to the amount 
of the subsidy to be granted to the Crown, and the 
means to be taken to expedite it. In a periodically 

1 Cobbett's Parliamentary History, Vol. I, p. 889. 


recurring controversy, wherein, thirty-five years later, 
Coke was destined to play the foremost part in deter- 
mining the questions at issue in favour of the repre- 
sentative Chamber, the Speaker acted once more as 
the instrument of the Sovereign rather than as the 
jealous protector of the privileges of the Commons. 
An animated and, from the constitutional point of view, 
a highly instructive debate continued for several days, 
touching the right of the Lords to intervene in the matter 
of finance. On i March their Lordships sent down a 
message to the Commons requiring them to expedite the 
passing of an increased supply and desiring a conference 
on the subject. 

The great Sir Francis Bacon, Coke's lifelong rival, was 
foremost in opposing the adoption of such a course, declar- 
ing that it was contrary to the privileges of the Commons 
to join with the Lords in the granting of a subsidy : " For 
the custom and privilege of this House hath always been," 
he said, " first to make offer of the subsidies from hence, 
then to the Upper House. . . . And reason it is, that we 
should stand upon our privilege, seeing the burthen resteth 
upon us as the greatest number, nor is it reason the thanks 
should be theirs. And in joining with them in this 
motion, we shall derogate from ours ; for the thanks will 
be theirs and the blame ours, they being the first movers. 
Wherefore I wish that in this action we should proceed, 
as heretofore we have done, apart by ourselves, and not 
join with their Lordships." He argued further that 
though the Lords might give notice to the Commons 
what need or danger there was, they ought not to prescribe 
the sum to be given. It will be noted that he based his 
argument for the supremacy of the Commons in finance, 


not upon their representative character, but upon their 
numerical superiority. Sir Walter Raleigh spoke in favour 
of an increased subsidy without alluding to the consti- 
tutional aspect of the question, but Robert Beale, the 
representative of the Borough of Lostwithiel, an old 
member of the House and a well-known diplomatist and 
antiquarian writer, vehemently insisted on the preser- 
vation and maintenance of the ancient liberties of the 
House, citing the inevitable precedent of the reign of 
Henry IV, in the Parliament held at Gloucester in 1407, 
whereat it was asserted that a conference between the 
two Houses in the sphere of finance would be a derogation 
of the privileges of the representatives of the people.^ 

Sir Robert Cecil used his great influence in favour 
of holding the conference, but on a division being 
taken only 128 voted for it and 217 against it. But 
the matter was not even then finally disposed of. A 
message was sent to the Lords to acquaint them that 
the Commons could not join with them in cases of benevo- 
lence or contribution, but, on a later day, Mr. Beale, who 
seems to have been but a pinchbeck Hampden after all, 
receded from his former uncompromising attitude, and 
humbly asked leave of the House to make a personal 
explanation. This was to the effect that he had mistaken 
the precise significance of the question already put from 
the Chair and decided by the House, and that he now 
thought that if the Lords desired a conference it ought to 
be accorded, 

" Mr. Beale desired to satisfy the House, by reason it 
was conceived by the Lords the other day, that upon his 

• For his share in the dispute and his attitude towards the mal- 
practices of the Ecclesiastical Courts referred to above, Beale was 
banished from Court and Parliament. 


motion, and by his precedent showed, the House was led 
to deny a conference with the Lords, acknowledged he 
had mistaken the question propounded. For there being 
but a conference desired by the Lords, and no confirming 
of any thing they had done, he thought we might, and it 
was fit we should confer. And to this end only he showed 
the Precedent. That in the ninth year of Henry IV the 
Commons having granted a subsidy,'![^which the Lords 
thought too little, and they agreed to a'greater and would 
have the Commons to confirm that which they had done ; 
this the Commons thought they could not do without 
prejudice to this House. Wherefore he acknowledged 
himself mistaken in the question, and desired if any were 
led by him, to be satisfied, for that he would have been of 
another opinion if he had conceived the matter as it was 

Sir Walter Raleigh, quick to see the advantage to be 
gained through this change of front, then proposed and 
carried, without a dissentient voice, a motion for a general 
conference with the Lords, " touching the great imminent 
dangers of the Realm and State, and the present necessary 
supply of Treasure to be provided speedily for the same 
according to the proportion of the necessity." 

At these Conferences the Lords sat covered whilst the 
members of the Lower House stood uncovered. This 
curious Parliamentary survival lingered well into the 
nineteenth century, and the late Mr. Evel57n Philip 
Shirley, of Ettington, who died so recently as 1882, 
not only remembered the observance of this custom, 
but to have seen the carpet spread, not on the floor of the 
Conference room, but on the table. This usage is believed 
to have given rise to the phrase " on the tapis." 

1 D'Ewes, Journals, p. 487. 


Macaiday attended one of these Conferences/ and 
made an interesting comment on the relations of the 
Lords and Commons in this connection. 

" The two Houses had a conference on the subject 
in an old Gothic room called the Painted Chamber. 
The painting consists in a mildewed daub of a woman 
in the niche of one of the windows. The Lords sat in 
little cocked hats along a table, and we stood uncovered 
on the other side, and delivered in our Resolutions. I 
thought that before long it may be our turn to sit, and 
theirs to stand." ^ 

The last time the Painted Chamber was ever used 
was on 13 August, 1834, when a Conference between the 
two Houses was held in it on the County Coroners Bill. 
In October of the same year it was destroyed by fire. 

The Conference of 1593 was held in due course in the 
" chamber next to the Upper House of Parliament," and 
from that moment victory rested with the Lords. For, 
notwithstanding a sharp wrangle as to the wording of 
the preamble of the Bill of Supply, it was drawn up 
and finally assented to in the following terms : " We 
the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the Commons 
of this present Parhament assembled, do by our 
Hke assent, and authority of this Parliament, give and 
grant to your Highness," etc. etc. Thus, in 1593, the Com- 
mons yielded to the Lords the very point which Coke, 
when the question of the wording of the preamble of 
BUls of Supply came up for settlement in 1628, was 
foremost in insisting upon, namely, the right of the Com- 
mons to be exclusively named in the granting of supplies. 

• On Indian Resolutions, June 17, 1833. 

2 Trevelyan's Life and Letters of Macaulay, Vol. I, p. 302. 


Sir Symonds D'Ewes, whose collections are especially 
valuable for this period, further states that the Bill of 
1593 was only passed with much difficulty, and after many 
days' agitation, " by reason of the greatness thereof," 
owing to the Speaker " over-reaching the House in the subtle 
putting of the question, by which means it had only been 
considered of in the Committee Chamber by eighteen 
members of the House appointed in the beginning of this 
forenoon,^ though many of the House desired a longer 
time for it to have been considered in Committee." It 
had actually been under consideration on ten separate 
occasions between 26 February and 22 March, when it 
passed the third reading. 

Some scraps of information concerning the more 
personal aspect of the House of Commons at this period 
are to be gleaned from contemporary sources. On the 
occasion of the great debate on the financial relations of 
the two Houses, it fell to Coke's lot to reprimand an 
unfortunate stranger,^ who had wandered into St. 
Stephen's Chapel and sat there for the greater part of 
the morning. He was committed to the custody of 
the Serjeant-at-Arms and imprisoned for several days, 
Matthew Jones, " gentleman," was charged with a 
similar offence on 27 March, and appearing to the House 
to be a simple ignorant old man, he was pardoned after 
being admonished by the Speaker. 

On another day Coke, perceiving some men to whisper 
together, said that it was not the manner of the House 
to talk secretly, for that only public speeches were to be 
used there. 

Purely legal Bills were committed to the Serjeants- 

1 22 March. ' John Legge, a servant of the Eaxl of Northumberland. 


at-Law who were members of the House, and were con- 
sidered not in the precincts of St. Stephen's, but at 
Serjeant's Inn in Fleet Street, perhaps with the inten- 
tion of keeping them under the direct surveillance and 
control of the Speaker, who had his town house there. 

Coke regularly asserted his right of speaking and 
voting in committee, and he appears to have inaugurated 
a rule whereby the chairman was empowered, in the 
case of two or more members rising at the same time, to 
ask on which side they desired to speak, and to give pre- 
cedence to a member who desired to oppose the arguments 
of the last speaker. Members who, for any good reason 
shown, desired leave of absence were required to leave a 
small sum of money with the Serjeant to be distributed 
amongst the poor. The amount varied from one shilling 
to six, but Mr. Wilfrid Lawson, Knight of the Shire for 
Cumberland, a direct ancestor of the late member for 
Cockermouth, left town without making the customary 
donation. In 1593 every member gave a shilling to the 
Serjeant for his attendance on the House, and for the 
cost of a clock which he had set up for the general con- 
venience. Every Privy Councillor paid thirty shillings 
as a charitable contribution to the relief of the poor, 
every Knight of the Shire, and Serjeant or Doctor of 
Law twenty shillings, and every burgess five shillings. 
One poor burgess refused to pay more than half a 
crown, whereupon Coke would have committed him to 
the custody of the Serjeant for disobeying the order of 
the House. But the general sense of the House being 
against such harsh dealing he escaped. 

The legislative harvest of the Session of 1592-93, a 
remarkable Parliament, owing to its standing nearly 


midway between the earliest Plantagenet assemblies 
and those of modem times, and from its having 
been presided over by one of the greatest intellects 
of his own or any age, was not a large one. It 
comprised only fourteen public and thirteen private 
Bills. In the former category, apart from the contro- 
versial Subsidy Bill, two only were of any consequence. 
Both of them, according to strict Tudor precedent, 
originated in the House of Lords, and both were penal 
measures, one directed against the Puritans and the other 
to restrain papal recusants to some certain place of 

On quitting the Chair, Coke apologised for the 
unbecoming expressions into which his natural pro- 
clivity to violent language had often led him.^ When 
Sir Walter Raleigh was being tried for his Ufe in 1603, 
Coke denounced him from the Bench as : " Traitor, 
viper and spider of hell " ; nor was this the only occa- 
sion when " one of the toughest men ever made," as 
Carlyle described him, so far forgot himself as to descend 
to vulgar abuse of his political opponents. 

In the person of Sir Christopher Yelverton the House 
once more chose a Northamptonshire man for its Speaker. 
His family was of Easton Mauduit and is not yet extinct in 
the county. In excusing himself to the House, Yelverton 
is reported to have said : " Your Speaker ought to be 
a man big and comely, stately and well-spoken, his 
voice great, his carriage majestical, his nature haughty, 
and his purse plentiful. But contrarily, the stature of 

1 The Speaker's Chair, by E. Lummis, 1900, a concise and useful 
contribution to the literature of the subject, to which the present 
author hereby acknowledges his frequent indebtedness. 

Janssen, pinxt. 

R. Dnntbarton, sadpt. 


From a p7i7it 


my body is small, myself not so well-spoken, my voice 
low, my carriage of the common fashion, my nature soft 
and bashful, my purse thin, light, and never plentiful." 
Previous to the summoning of this Parliament the 
Privy Council sent out no less than fifty-two cautionary 
letters to the sheriffs directing them to use their utmost 
endeavours to procure the election of " men of under- 
standing and knowledge for the particular estate of the 
places whereunto they ought to be chosen," and to 
select, " without partiahty as sometimes hath been used," 
fit persons to serve, especially in the boroughs. No 
doubt the Council, in looking so far ahead, anticipated 
that by October, when the House was appointed to meet, 
Essex would have returned in triumph from his ex- 
pedition against Spain. 

Speaker Yelverton composed the prayer still in use in 
the Commons, and a very beautiful piece of English it is. 
The usual hour of assembling was then eight o'clock in the 
morning, and, as now, the day's proceedings were opened 
with prayer, but so early as 1558 it had been customary 
for the Clerk of the House to repeat the Litany kneeling, 
" answered by the whole House on their knees with divers 
prayers."^ In 1571 the hour of meeting was as early as 
seven a.m., and the afternoon sittings of recent times had 
their forerunners in May of the same year, when, as an 
experiment, the House was appointed to meet on 
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at three o'clock and 
to sit till five. An instance of a still earlier meeting is 
on record, for on 28 March, 1641, the House met at six 
o'clock in the morning. Later in the seventeenth century 
nine or ten was the usual hour for assembhng, and Lord 

• Sir Symonds D'Ewes, p. 473. 


Clarendon spoke of from eight till twelve as the old Par- 
Mamentary hours. To Sir Robert Walpole the House 
owes its Saturday holiday, and to Sir Robert Peel the 
short sitting on Wednesday, now altered to Friday in 
each week. 

The last of the Elizabethan Speakers was Sir John 
Croke, Recorder of London, " a very black man by com- 
plexion," thus resembling the " black funereal Finches " 
of a later era. Fulk Onslow, the Clerk of the House, was 
stricken with ague, and through the Speaker he petitioned 
the House for one Cadwallader Tydder to be allowed to 
execute the duties of his office until it should please God 
to restore him to health. The House, which has always 
been careful of its officers' interests, and jealous of their 
privileges, at once granted Onslow's request, and Tydder 
took the oath of supremacy. 

An interesting question of ParUamentary procedure 
was settled during Croke's tenure of the Chair. On a 
division in which the Ayes were 105 and the Noes 106 
(in the discussion on a Bill for compelling attendance at 
church), the minority claimed the Speaker's vote to make 
the numbers even and secure a casting vote in their 
favour. Sir Walter Raleigh spoke in opposition to this 
view, and ultimately the House decided that the only vote 
a Speaker has is a casting vote between equal numbers. 
This precedent still obtains, and the Speaker has no right 
to enter the division lobby, except in committees of the 
whole house, and even this right has not been exercised 
since Speaker Denison^ passed through the lobby in wig 
and gown to record his vote. ^ 

'■ Lord Ossington, 

* When the question of the Speaker's casting vote was debated 
Secretary Cecil said : " The Speaker hath no voice ; and, though I am 
sorry for it, the Bill is lost, and farewell to it." 



From a di-a7vhig ht the National Portrait Gallery 


In an address to the throne Speaker Croke was al- 
luding to the defeat of Essex's insurrection, " by the 
iriighty arm of our dread and sacred Queen," when 
Elizabeth caught him up, and interposed, " No, 
by the mighty hand of God, Mr. Speaker." Croke 
was responsible for the introduction of sundry orders 
tending to the general convenience of members. They 
were forbidden to come into the House with spurs, and 
a similar restriction was sought to be imposed on rapiers.^ 
This Speaker was fifth in descent from Nicholas Le 
Blount, who changed his name to Croke in consequence 
of his cousin. Sir Thomas Blount, having been engaged 
in a conspiracy to restore Richard H to the throne. 

At a dinner given by the Abbot of Westminster in 
December, 1399, it was agreed to surprise Henry IV at a 
tournament to be held at Windsor on the following 
Twelfth Night. But the plot was revealed within a few 
hours of its being carried into execution, and Sir Thomas 
Blount was put to death under circumstances of excep- 
tional barbarity. Having been partially hanged, he was 
slowly roasted before a blazing fire, his bowels were cut 
out, and he was then beheaded, exclaiming, shortly 
before he expired, " Blessed be this day, for I shall 
die in the service of my sovereign lord, the noble King 
Richard ! " 

Their estates having been forfeited to the Crown, the 
family fled abroad and entered the service of the Duke 
of Milan. Having acquired fresh wealth in foreign 
parts, they returned to England after the death of 
Henry IV, when they could appear in public in safety. 
They bought lands in Buckinghamshire, and on the 

' Sir Symonds D'Ewes, p. 623. 



marriage of Speaker Croke to the daughter of Sir Michael 
Blount, of Maple Durham, the name of Blount 
was altogether omitted by the branch of the family 
which had previously styled itself Croke, alias Blount. 
The direct line of the Crokes is now extinct, and their 
property at Studley, in Oxfordshire, where the Speaker's 
portrait was formerly preserved, has passed into the 
possession of the Henderson family. 

The deep-rooted antagonism of the English people to 
Spain, which reached its culminating point with the 
coming of the Armada, resulted in the return to the 
House of Commons of a permanent Protestant majority, 
whereas, at the beginning of Elizabeth's reign, the 
adherents of the old faith were a preponderating element 
both in ParUament and in the country. The Parhament 
of 1571, in which Sir Christopher Wray was Speaker, was 
in the main a Puritan assembly. It bestowed the authority 
of the legislature upon the thirty-nine articles drawn up 
by convocation nearly ten years earlier, but, as it 
evinced a strong desire to amend the Prayer Book and to 
impose new penalties upon the Catholics, it was hastily 

The next House of Commons included many followers 
of Thomas Cartwright, the chief exponent of Calvinism in 
England, and when in 1581 the teachings of the Jesuit, 
Edmund Campion, inflamed the pubHc mind against Rome, 
no great indignation was shown when the penal laws 
against the Catholics were revived. Though the fires of 
Smithfield were not relighted, recourse was once more had 
to torture, and the rack was again set up in the Tower in 
order to extract confessions from prisoners as in the 
darkest days of the Marian persecution. 


Notwithstanding the sharp contrasts of Elizabeth's 
civil and religious legislation and her determination to 
regard the two Houses as mere instruments of taxation, 
convened for the express purpose of replenishing the 
royal purse, a growing spirit of self-rehance manifested 
itself in the House of Commons towards the close of a 
reign in which England became great, not so much because 
of, as in spite of, the popular assembly. 

The fact that the responsible ministers of the Crown, 
Hatton and Cecil amongst the number, now sat in the 
House of Commons and took part in its debates on equal 
terms with the general body of members is conclusive 
proof that the right of argument was beginning to be 
recognised as an essential feature of a Constitution 
hitherto mainly controlled by prerogative.^ 

* Portraits of Elizabethan Speakers are not numerous. There is 
one of Sir Thomas Gargrave at Hardwick House, Bury St. Edmunds, 
the property of Mr. Gery Cullum, who has kindly allowed it to be re- 
produced in this volume. Of Richard Onslow and Sir John Popham 
there are likenesses in the Speaker's collection ; and of Sir Christopher 
Wray there are portraits both at Westminister and in the National 
Portrait Gallery. Sir Edward Coke is also doubly represented, but 
of Thomas Williams, Sir John Puckering, and Thomas Snagge, no 
portraits have been traced. 




James I — 

Edward Phelips 
Randolph Crewe 
Thomas Richardson 
Thomas Crewe 

Charles I — 

Heneage Finch 
John Finch 
John Glanville 
William Lenthall 

Commonwealth — 
Henry Pelham 
Francis Rous 
Thomas Widdrington 
Bulstrode Whitelocke 
Chaloner Chute 
Lislebone Long 
Thomas Bampfylde 
William Say 


Charles II — 

Harbottle Grimston 
Edward Turnour 
Job Charlton 
Edward Seymour 
Robert Sawyer 
William Gregory 
WiUiam Williams 

James II — 

John Trevor 

William III — 
Henry Powle 
Paul Foley 
Thomas Littleton 
Robert Harley 

Anne — 

John Smith 
Richard Onslow 
Wilham Bromley 
Thomas Hanmer 

THE first of the Stuart line was an unkingly 
pedant who entirely failed to understand 
the temper of the nation over which he was 
called upon to rule. The new and aggressive 
spirit which showed itself in the House of Commons early 



in the reign of James I was stimulated by the perverse 
and persistent egotism of the " wisest fool in Europe " ; 
and boded ill for the Crown in an age which was beginning 
to value privilege more than prerogative. The efforts, 
partial and incomplete though they were, which had been 
made under Elizabeth to bring about some amelioration 
of the hard lot of the lower classes, to promote education 
and to relieve the necessities of the poor, were succeeded 
by a period of retrogression during which ParUamentary 
progress was first hindered and then rendered impossible. 
A plague in London, which carried off 30,000 people, 
caused the meeting of James's first Parliament to be 
delayed until March 1603-4. Sir Edward Phelips, 
a Somersetshire gentleman, was elected Speaker " by 
general acclamation," after the names of Sir Henry 
Nevill, Sir Francis Bacon, Sir Edward Hoby, Sir Henry 
Montagu, and Sir Francis Hastings had been proposed. 
The last of these was the colleague of PheUps in the 
representation of the county of Somerset. The English 
counties were very unequally represented in the new 
ParUament, for whilst the official returns give the names 
of 39 members for Cornwall, 34 for Wiltshire and 26 for 
Hampshire, Lancashire had only 12, Kent 10, Cumberland 
and Westmorland 4 each, and Northumberland only 2.^ 
Speaker Phelips succeeded to the estate of Montacute 
in 1598, and soon after that date he began to build the 

1 The writs for the Parliaraent were issued under a Royal Proclama- 
tion, which in its terms directly infringed the privileges of the House of 
Commons. [N.B. Especially the order that the writs should be re- 
turned to the Chancery.] It assumed entire control of the elections, 
and threatened fines and imprisonment if its injunctions were traversed 
{History of the English Parliament, by G. Barnett Smith, 1892, Vol. I. 
p. 361). 


magnificent Renaissance mansion which remains to 
this day one of the principal architectural glories of the 
county of Somerset. His portrait here reproduced is 
by permission of his hneal descendant the present owner 
of Montacute, where, by the way, are preserved the 
original minutes of the Gunpowder Plot inquiry. 

As was customary at this period, the King's speech 
abounded in metaphor, ^ nor was Speaker Phelips' reply, 
in which he expressed the usual formal desire to be excused 
from executing the office, less free from the extravagantly 
flowery language then considered appropriate to the 
occasion. Whilst he spoke of himself as " not tasting of 
Parnassus' springs, nor of the honey left upon the lips of 
Pluto and Pindarus by the bees," he defined the duties 
of the Chair as being : " Managed by the absolute 
perfection of experience, by the profoundness of Utera- 
ture, and by the fullness and grace of natural gifts, 
which are the beauty and ornament of arts and actions." 
Nevertheless, the Speaker of the Gunpowder Plot 
Parliament deserves to be remembered for his energetic 
vindication of the privileges of the House of Commons. 
The important case of Sir Thomas Shirley, wherein the 
amount of protection afforded by the House to its mem- 
bers was carried a step further than in the well-known 
instances of Haxey and Strode, was determined in the 
opening session of James's first Parliament. 

The member for Steyning, Sussex, a small borough 
long consigned to oblivion, had been cast into prison, after 
his return to, but before the meeting of ParHament, in 
execution of a private debt. Instead of wasting time in 

1 It occupies more than twelve closely printed double columns in 
Cobbett's Parliamentary History. 



From a painting at Montacttte^ Somerset 


discussing abstract matters of law, the House focused 
its attention on the means necessary to secure Shirley's 
immediate release. The Warden of the Fleet was com- 
manded to deliver up his prisoner, and six members 
acting as a deputation of the whole body, to be accom- 
panied by the Serjeant and the Mace, were empowered 
to free him, if need be by force, and to bring him 
in triumph to Westminster. The Warden of the Fleet, 
however, proved obdurate, whereupon he was summoned 
to the Bar and admonished by the Speaker in the follow- 
ing terms : " That, as he did increase his contempt, so 
the House thought fit to increase his punishment ; and 
that their judgment was that he be committed to the 
prison called Little Ease, within the Tower." 

An ingeniously worded request to the King was sent 
through the Vice-Chamberlain desiring him to command 
the contumacious Warden to deliver Shirley " not as 
petitioned for by the House, but as if himself thought it 
fit out of his own gracious judgment." It was now the 
Warden's turn to sue for release from durance vile, and, 
on his making due submission for his dilatoriness in com- 
plying with the original Order of the House, the Speaker 
pronounced pardon, the Warden, on his knees at the Bar, 
expressing unfeigned regret for his offence. To legalise 
the position an Act was hastily passed whereby the 
privileges of members in cases of arrest were, for the first 
time, defined. A creditor was authorised to sue for a 
new execution against any one delivered by virtue of his 
Parliamentary privilege, and power was taken to discharge 
from liability those out of whose custody such persons 
should be released. ^ 

* I James I, c. 13. 


The Journals at this time reveal a growing tendency 
to make rules for the guidance of the House and its 
presiding officer. On 26 March, 1604, a Mr. Hext moved 
" against hissing to the interruption and hindrance of the 
speech of any man in the House," and the clerk re- 
corded that the motion was " well approved." ^ And 
on 27 April it was agreed for a rule that " If any doubt 
arise upon a Bill, the Speaker is to explain, but not sway 
the House with argument or dispute." 

Nor was the lighter side of Parliamentary life wholly 
unrepresented at this period, for on 3 July, 1604, the 
Merchant Taylors Company gave a solemn feast to the 
Speaker and a great number of members of the House 
of principal rate and quality to the number of one 
hundred. The King sent a buck and a hogshead of wine, 
and the Clerk of the House, not to be outdone in gener- 
osity, presented the Company with a marchpane repre- 
senting the Commons in session. 

Phelips was taken ill in March, 1607, and, as there was 
no precedent for choosing a temporary Speaker, a com- 
mittee was ordered to search the records in order to avoid 
a Parliamentary deadlock. But, as Phelips resumed the 
Chair next day, nothing was done to meet the emergency, 
and though temporary Speakers were occasionally chosen 
in Commonwealth times, it was not until 1853 that the 
Chairman of Ways and Means was empowered to act as 
Deputy Speaker. Under more recent Standing Orders 
the Speaker may call upon the Chairman to take the 
Chair at any time. PheUps, who, in the opinion of Sir 
Julius Caesar, was the most worthy and judicious Speaker 

1 Commons Journals, Vol. I, p. 152. 


since Sir John Popham, became Master of the Rolls, and 
in that capacity occupied the house in Chancery Lane 
which so many Speakers have inhabited. He opened 
the indictment of Guy Fawkes, at which the vener- 
able Sir John Popham presided as Lord Chief Justice. 
Fawkes was executed in Old Palace Yard on 31 Jan- 
uary, 1606, and from an old print pubhshed at the time 
some idea can be gathered of its appearance at this 

The Crewes of Crewe Hall are said, on the authority of 
Ormerod, to have been a family of established position 
in Cheshire as early as the thirteenth century, but more 
discriminating genealogists have preferred to date the 
fortunes of the family from one John Crewe, a tanner at 
Nantwich in the sixteenth century. Cases of nepotism 
may have occurred in connection with the Speaker's 
office, but to John Crewe of Nantwich belongs the unique 
honour of having had two sons, Randolph and Thomas, 
both of whom sat in the Chair of the Commons. Both 
were bred to the law, Randolph at Lincohi's Inn and 
Thomas at Gray's. Both took the usual lawyer's road 
to notoriety by standing for ParHament. Randolph, who 
bought the estate of Crewe Hall from the heirs of Sir 
Christopher Hatton in 1608, entered the House of Com- 
mons as member for Brackley, Northants, in 1597.^ On 
5 April, 1614, he was chosen Speaker nemine contradicente, 
though there is some doubt as to the constituency he then 

The session opened with two separate speeches from 

» He is called Randal in the official return, but this variation in the 
spelling of the Christian name has not been uncommon, especially in 


the throne, one delivered at Westminster on the open- 
ing day, and one, a few days later, in the Banqueting 
House, Whitehall. The Speaker's reply has not been 
preserved. Two months later the Houses were dis- 
solved without having passed a single Bill, a prece- 
dent in Parliamentary history which earned for this 
assembly the name of the " Addled Parliament." It 
is on record that Speaker Crewe's experiences in the 
Chair " gave him a strong distaste for politics," and well 
they may have done, for during his tenure of office were 
heard the first mutterings of the storm which was soon 
to break over England in the form of Civil War. 
In 1625 he became Chief Justice of the King's Bench, 
only to be dismissed a year later by Charles I for re- 
fusing to acknowledge the legality of forced loans. Sir 
Randolph Crewe, after his retirement from public life, 
lived in Westminster, where, according to Fuller, he was 
renowned for his hospitality ; and dying there in January, 
1646, he was buried in a chapel which he built at Barthom- 
ley on his Cheshire estate. The present Earl of Crewe is 
descended from him. 

It was some years before James summoned another 
Parliament, and meanwhile he resorted to the old and 
discredited system of raising money by means of be- 
nevolences, a grievance as old as the days of Richard III, 
by selling patents for peerages and baronetages, and 
by the creation of monopolies. Before Crewe's younger 
brother was preferred to the Chair, Sir Thomas 
Richardson, the son of a country clergyman in 
Norfolk, became Speaker in James's third Parliament. 
In making his formal excuse to the House he " wept 
outright," an incident which points to his well-known 



From a painting in the Speaker s House 


tenderness of heart. His refusal, when Chief Justice 
of the Common Pleas, to allow Felton, the assassin of 
the Duke of Buckingham, to be siibjected to torture, 
marks an epoch in the annals of the criminal law. 
Richardson was faced in Parliament by the redoubtable 
Coke, who; after an interval of twenty-seven years, now 
re-entered the House as member for Liskeard. 

Though Richardson's tenure of the Chair was marked 
by many events of the highest constitutional importance, 
he does not seem to have been what is called a strong 
Speaker. The ParUament over which he presided soon 
showed itself active against the holders of monopolies. It 
impeached Sir Giles Mompesson, the chief delinquent in 
this category ; it imprisoned a bishop who was impHcated 
in a charge of bribery; it degraded Lord Chancellor 
Bacon, who was proved to have accepted money cor- 
ruptly tendered, if without corrupt motive. And when 
the hostility between King and Commons, which charac- 
terised the entire reign, came to a crisis in December, 
1621, the House addressed a Petition and Remonstrance 
to the King recommending that he should declare war 
against Spain, and that the Prince ^ " may be timely 
and happily married to one of our religion." James, 
in return, directed the Commons to forbear from 
meddling " with anything concerning our government 
and mysteries of State," warning them, at the same 
time, that they derived their ancient liberty of freedom 
of speech from " the grace and permission of his ancestors 
and himself." 

By the dim candlelight of a winter afternoon,* the 
House forthwith resolved that " The Liberties, franchises, 

1 Charles I. * 18 December, 1621. 


privileges and jurisdictions of Parliament, are the ancient 
and imdoubted birthright and inheritance of the subjects 
of England; and that the arduous and urgent affairs 
concerning the King, State, and the defence of the Realm, 
and of the Church of England, and the making and 
maintenance of laws, and redress of mischiefs and griev- 
ances, which daily happen within this Realm, are proper 
subjects and matter of counsel and debate in ParUament ; 
and that in the handling and proceeding of those businesses 
every member of the House hath, and of right ought to 
have, Freedom of Speech, to propound, treat, reason 
and bring to conclusion the same ; and that the Commons 
in Pariiament have like liberty and freedom to treat of 
those matters, in such order as in their judgments shall 
seem fittest ; and that every such member of the said 
House hath like freedom from all Impeachment, Imprison- 
ment, and Molestation (other than by the censure of the 
House itself), for, or concerning any speaking, reasoning 
or declaring of any matter or matters, touching the 
Parhament, or Parliament business : and that, if any 
of the said members be complained of, and questioned 
for any thing said or done in Parliament, the same is 
to be shewed to the King, by the advice and assent 
of all the Commons assembled in Parliament, before 
the King give credence to any private information." 

On learning of this emphatic pronouncement of its 
liberties, James dispersed the House by a compulsory 
adjournment ; he sent for the Journal Book and tore 
the protestation out of it with his own hand.^ At 
the same time Coke and Pym were committed to the 

1 The Manuscript Journals of the House of Commons. Privately 
printed by the late Sir Reginald Palgrave, Clerk of the House, 1897. 



Fi-oni a d^-atving in the National Po7-traii Gallery 

F. Cole, sculpt. 


Tower. Reflections were cast upon Richardson from 
time to time for his conduct in the Chair. It was alleged 
that he curtailed discussion at a moment opportune for 
the King, and Sir H. Manners declared that " Mr. Speaker 
is but a servant to the House, not a master, nor a master's 
mate," while one Sir W. Herbert bade him " sit stiU." 
This much -tried man, who witnessed the earliest rise 
of the Court and country parties, which, in after years, 
so sharply divided the House, died at his house in Chancery 
Lane in 1635. He was accorded the honour, seldom 
bestowed upon a Speaker, of burial in Westminster 
Abbey. His monument is stDl to be seen in the south 
choir aisle, ^ surmounted by a bronze portrait bust by 
Le Sueur, the sculptor of King Charles I's statue at 
Charing Cross. 

Sir Thomas Crewe, Sir Randolph's younger brother, was 
Speaker in James's last Parliament, which met in Feb- 
ruary, 1623-24, and was dissolved, in consequence of the 
death of the King, in May, 1625. Elsjmge declared that 
Sir Thomas, on presentation for the royal approval, made 
the best speech, delivered on a similar occasion, since 
Speaker Nevill's in the sixth year of Henry "VIII, that it 
did not cohsist of mere verbal praises but that it was, on 
the contrary, real and fit for the times. Yet it certainly 
was not free from the extravagant metaphor indulged in 
by Phelips and most of the previous Speakers, whose ad- 
dresses to the Crown have been preserved. Sir Thomas, 
amongst other oratorical gems, likened himself to a lowly 
shrub planted amongst many cedars of Lebanon. He went 
on to express the hope that the King, "hke Ahasuerus," 
would extend to him his sceptre of grace " to sustain him 

1 The Dictionary of National Biography says wrongly, " north aisle." 


in his fainting." After a passing allusion to the " hellish 
inventions " of Guy Fawkes, he declared, in the most 
uncompromising Protestant manner, that it was the wish 
of every loyal subject of the Crown that the " generation 
of locusts," the Jesuits and Seminary Priests, who were 
wont to creep in holes and corners, but who now came 
openly abroad, might, as with an east wind, be blown 
away into the sea. He added that though the Pope cursed 
Queen Elizabeth, God blessed her, and that the ark of true 
religion would ultimately land James in Heaven, when 
that "hopeful Prince"^ would sway the sceptre of 
England, the whUe his father wore a celestial crown.* 

It has been weU said that from this time forth 
the history of England was written at the Clerk's 
table of the House of Commons. Elsynge, Scobell, 
and Rushworth are the three best-remembered men 
who filled the office of Clerk or Clerk- Assistant in the 
seventeenth century, and the historical collections of the 
last-named are the most valuable record of the doings 
of the Long Parliament extant. It is sad to think that 
this zealous pubhc servant spent the closing years of 
his life in straitened circumstances in the King's Bench 
prison in Southwark. 

The animated debates on the war with Spain (for which 
the House voted £300,000) ; the impeachment of the Earl 
of Middlesex for bribery, in which Coke took the lead, 
whilst the prosecution ultimately devolved upon the 
Speaker's brother acting as Attorney-General; the im- 
portant concession by the Crown whereby Parliament 

1 Charles I. 

" Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. Ill, p. 211. When reappointed 
in the next reign he made a somewhat similar oration, not forgetting 
his old enemies the Jesuit locusts. 


1623-4, 1625 

From a painting in the Speaker's House 


won the right of appointing its own Commissioners for the 
disbursement of supply : all these intricate questions 
were so tactfully handled by the younger Crewe, that he 
was once more voted to the Chair when Charles I ascended 
the throne. He now sat for Gatton, in Surrey, a small 
borough, as notorious in later times as even Old Sarum. 
Its political history, prior to the passing of the great 
Reform Bill, excited Lord Rosebery's scathing ridicule 
in a recent speech in the House of Lords, though he did 
not suggest that Gatton was corrupt when a Crewe sat 
for it. 

Charles's first Parliament, holding that the refusal of 
supplies to the Crown was its most potent weapon 
against the abuses of prerogative, would only grant a 
beggarly £140,000, by way of subsidy. It was there- 
fore dissolved after a session of less than three months. 
To Thomas Crewe succeeded Sir Heneage Finch, son 
of Sir Moyle Finch, of Eastwell, Kent, and member 
for the City of London.^ His brief term of office was 
marked by an increasing boldness on the part of the 
Commons, as instanced by the impeachment of Buck- 
ingham, the King's prime favourite. It was managed by 
that trio of patriots, Eliot, Pym, and Dudley Digges.* 
Sir John Eliot, writing in 1625, spoke of the Speaker- 
ship as being then regarded by the general body of 
members as "an of&ce frequently filled by nullities, 
men selected for mere Court convenience," nor was the 
charge altogether an unjust one. 

Eliot came into collision with the Chair when Sir John 

' Of which he was also Recorder. 

" Eliot and Digges were arrested, but their imprisonment was held 
by the Judicature to be a breach of privilege. 


Finch, cousin to the Sir Heneage above mentioned, 
filled the post in the third Parliament of this reign ; 
the first, by the way, in which Oliver Cromwell, then 
only twenty-nine years of age, had a seat. Sir John 
Eliot, desiring to raise a question on the subject of 
tonnage and poundage. Finch, who was a very nervous 
man, refused to put it on the ground that the King 
had commanded the House to adjourn. Eliot then 
read the remonstrance for himself, and on the Speaker 
rising to adjourn the debate, he was forced back into the 
Chair by Denzil Holies and some other members. Holies 
exclaiming : " That by God's wounds he should sit there 
tin it pleased him to rise." ^ The Speaker then burst 
into tears, saying : " I will not say I will not, but that I 
dare not." Straightway the House adopted the substance 
of Eliot's motion, and shortly afterwards ParHament was 
dissolved, not to meet again for eleven years. 

This was not the first occasion on which tears started 
to this nervous Speaker's eyes. A royal message of 
5 June, 1628, commanding the Commons not to 
meddle with affairs of State or to asperse the King's 
ministers, having been read in the House, Eliot rose 
ostensibly to rebut the implied charge of imphcating 
ministers. The Speaker, apprehending that he in- 
tended to make an attack upon the Duke of Buck- 
ingham, cried whilst he faltered out : " There is a 
command laid upon me to interrupt anyone that should 
go about to lay aspersion on the Ministers of State." 
Eliot then resumed his seat, and on the next day the 
Speaker brought down a conciUatory message from the 

• Parliamentary History, Vol. II, p. 487. 

From a paiiithtg at Giiitiihall by y. M. IVrigltt 



From a painting hy Van Dyck in the possession of Lord Barnard 


That Finch was the creature of the Crown appears 
certain when it is remembered that he was mainly re- 
sponsible for the judgment in the Ship Money case — that 
monstrous exaction never intended to be spent wholly on 
ships. On the other hand, he was quite unable to stem the 
rising tide of popular indignation, which found its ade- 
quate expression in the right of free speech so forcibly 
contended for by Pym, Hampden, and Coke until it 
became a reality, and not the sham it had been under 
the Tudors. But there is this much excuse to be made 
for Finch, that no Speaker before his time had ever been 
confronted with so many difficulties. 

On 7 June, 1628, the very day on which Charles I 
gave a reluctant assent to that bulwark of English 
Constitutional Hberty — the Petition of Right — a strong 
Committee of the Commons was appointed to draw 
up the preamble of the Bill of Supply. It numbered 
thirty -two members, including an ex -Speaker and a 
future one in Coke and Glanville, Selden, the most famous 
jurist in Europe,^ Pym, Sir John Eliot, and Sir Dudley 

1 The " great dictator of learning of the English nation " was the 
title by which Selden was known, not only at home, but on the Conti- 
nent. Some of his political opinions have been quoted in recent dis- 
cussions of the great Constitutional question now agitating the public 
mind. It will, therefore, not be inappropriate to recall the views 
which he entertained on the relations of the two Houses. 

"There be but two erroneous opinions in the House of Commons: 
That the Lords sit only for themselves, when the truth is, they sit as 
well for the Commonwealth. The second error is, that the House of 
Commons are to begin to give subsidies, yet if the Lords dissent, they 
can give no money." 

In another remarkable passage, dealing with the composition of the 
hereditary chamber, he said : 

" The Lords that are ancient we honour, because we know not 
whence they come ; but the new ones we sUght, because we know 
their beginning." (Selden's Table Talk, edited by S. W. Singer, 


Digges. Coke, then in his seventy-seventh year, but 
in full possession of his remarkable powers, was 
Chairman, and on the next sitting day he reported the 
findings of the Committee to the House. The form of 
words, omitting the assent of the Lords to a money grant, 
and requiring only their assent to the Bill founded 
upon such grant to clothe it with the form of law, 
had been altered three years before and accepted 
by the Upper House without demur ; while in 1626 
a Supply Bill, with a similarly worded preamble, was 
only lost owing to the premature dissolution of Parlia- 

In 1628 the popular indignation against the Duke of 
Buckingham, who, rightly or wrongly, was believed by 
the Commons to be the primary cause of all the recent 
strainings of the Royal Prerogative, was at the flood-tide. 
Coke denounced him by name as " the grievance of 
grievances," and it was felt that the rights of the repre- 
sentative Chamber in the matter of finance stood in need 
of more exphcit and emphatic assertion. A few days 
later ^ a free conference between the two Houses was 
appointed to be held in the Painted Chamber, at which 
Coke, Glanville, and HakewU, the latter a legal antiquary 
deeply versed in the laws and customs of Parliament, 
were to speak on behalf of the Commons. Unfortunately 
the names of the Lords' representatives are, contrary 
to custom, not given in their own journal. On 17 Jtme 
the conference took place, not in the place first appointed, 
but in the Star Chamber, and at it the Lords made formal 
complaint of the wording of the preamble, " Wherein 
they were excluded, contrary to ancient precedents, though 

* On 13 June. 


From a woodcut in tke p 

wesshn oj Sir Walter Spencer-Stanhope 


the last were not so."^ They intimated their desire to have 
the name of the Commons struck out of the preamble, 
requesting the Lower House to show warrant for the 
insertion, as they, on their part, were prepared to show 
cause for the omission. Lord Keeper Coventry, whose 
role in life seems to have been, though with indifferent 
success, to mediate between the King and the popular 
leaders, had previously been instructed by the Peers to 
signify at the conference " the great care the Lords had 
had, all this Parliament, to continue a good correspond- 
ency between both Houses, which is best done where 
nothing is intrenched upon either House ; to show them, 
that in the front ^ of the Bill of Subsidies, which 
they lately sent up, the Commons are only named ; 
whereas in many precedents (but^ only in the last Parlia- 
ment) it is ; * neither naming the Lords nor yet the 
Commons ; That the Lords conceived this rather to have 
happened by some slip, than done of set purpose ; To 
move them, that the word^ may be struck out, for as 
the Commons give their subsidies for themselves and for 
the representative body of the Kingdom, sp the Lords 
have the disposition of their own." 

The Journals of the Commons state expressly that 
" this course was not liked, as being of a dangerous 
example, in point of consequence " ; and a further mes- 
sage was delivered to the Peers by Sir Edward Coke, 

* An allusion apparently intended to refer to the alterations which 
had been made in 1625 and 1626. 

* Or preamble. 
' i.e. except. 

* We, Your Majesty's most humble and loyal subjects, in your 
High Court of Parliament assembled, etc. 

« "Commons" 


the wording of which is so curious as to deserve quota- 
tion in full : — 

" There is nothing more desired by that ^ House than 
the good concurrence between the Lords and them, 
which they esteem an Earthly Paradise. They have en- 
tered into consideration of the proposition to omit the 
words ' The Commons ' in the Subsidy Bill, which they 
find to be a matter of greater consequence than can be 
suddenly resolved on. But to-morrow morning they will 
consider of it, and return an answer with all the con- 
venient speed they can." 

A dramatic surprise was in store. A deadlock be- 
tween the two Houses was averted by the Lords passing 
the Bni as it stood, ^ and as soon as the Commons learnt 
of it they sent the following magnanimous message 
to their late opponents : — 

" That, after the Conference yesterday touching the 
amendment of the Subsidy Bill propounded by the Lords, 
they took the same presently into their consideration, 
with a full intent to have proceeded therein this morn- 
ing ; but were prevented by a constant report that their 
Lordships had passed and voted the said Bill of Subsidies. 
Yet, nevertheless, the Commons have thought good to 
signify unto their Lordships, that they wiU always en- 
deavour to continue a good correspondency with their 
Lordships, knowing well that the good concurrence be- 
tween the two Houses is the very heartstring of the 
Commonwealth, and they shall be ever as zealous of their 
Lordships' Privileges as of their own rights." 

Whilst the crisis was still undetermined the Duke of 
Buckingham had called the attention of the Peers to a 

^ The Commons. 

2 Journals of the House of Lords, 17 June, 1628, Vol. Ill, p. 860. 


statement made by a member of the House of Commons/ 
who declared that he^ had said at his own table : " Tush, 
it makes no matter what the Commons or Parliament 
doth ; for, without my leave and authority, they shall 
not be able to touch the hair of a dog." The Duke 
asked leave to move that the member in question 
should be called upon to prove his words, as not only 
had he never uttered them, but that they were never 
so much as in his thoughts.^ The next day he returned 
to the charge, adding that Mr. Lewkenor had acknow- 
ledged having made use of the words attributed to him, 
though he refused to name his informant. 

After the Conference was over, the Duke again ap- 
pealed to the Peers to be allowed to make the same 
protest before the Commons as he had made in the 
House of Lords. Lord Keeper Coventry was instructed 
to intimate his desire to the Lower House, but he does 
not seem to have made any such dramatic appearance 
as his entrance at the Bar would have given rise to.* 
The Duke's unpopularity seems to have been at its 
summit all through the crisis of June, 1628, and, signifi- 
cantly enough, on the same day that the deadlock be- 
tween Lords and Commons was averted a prot^g^ of his. 
Dr. John Lambe, was fatally injured by a mob of London 
apprentices, and a couplet, illustrating the vindictive 
feeUng which prevailed against his patron, was hawked 
about the town and passed from mouth to mouth : — 

" Let Charles and George do what they can, 
The Duke shall die hke Doctor Lambe." 

' Mr. Lewkenor. " The Duke. ' Lords Journals, i8 June, 1628. 

* There were two members named Lewkenor in the House at this 
time, Richard, Knight of the Shire for Sussex, and Christopher, member 
for Midhurst. 


As all the world knows, Buckingham fell by an assassin's 
knife, at Portsmouth, only two months later. 

One further fact concerning this memorable dispute 
between the two Houses must be placed on record. The 
Speaker, Sir John Finch, was prevented, on the day of 
the prorogation, from carrying up the Subsidy Bill to 
the Lords for the Royal Assent, according to ancient 
custom. He was thus debarred from making a speech 
to the Throne and alluding to the victory won by the 
Commons in the matter of finance. To which, the 
Joxurnal states, " much exception was taken." Finch's 
last appearance in the House of Commons — he had 
succeeded Lord Coventry as Lord Keeper — was when 
he appeared at the Bar in 1640, after being im- 
peached by the Long Parliament. Though he spoke in 
his own defence, and spoke well, he did not await the 
conclusion of the indictment, but fled to The Hague, 
where he died in 1660.^ 

The Speaker of the " Short Parliament " came of a 
very ancient West of England family, and it is strange 
that Sir John Glanville's election should have received 
the royal approbation, for he was known to have been 
opposed to the Court, and, in a former House, he 
had prepared a protest against arbitrary dissolution. 
Possibly during the period of personal government 
his convictions had undergone modification. Great 
changes in popular feehng had, indeed, taken place 
in those eleven years in which Charles had essayed to 
rule without Constitutional assistance. Hampden had 

1 The first article in his impeachment was his arbitrary conduct 
in the Chair on the occasion of Sir John Eliot's motion on tonnage 
and poundage. He is buried in St. Martin's Church, near Canterbury, 
under a stupendous marble monument. 



Frojn a. pahttiitg at the N/itional Portiait Gallery 



become a popular hero through his opposition to ship 
money ; the abuse of justice by the Court of Star Chamber 
had sunk deep into the pubhc mind ; Strafford had been 
recalled from Ireland to give the King counsel in his dire 
necessity ; and, though Coke and Eliot were dead and 
Holies was no longer a member, Hampden and Pym re- 
mained the indomitable champions of English liberty 
when Glanville succeeded to the Chair. 

His tenure of it was too brief for fame ; but a very sin- 
gular story of his private life deserves to be rescued from 
oblivion. His elder brother, Francis, a profligate and a 
spendthrift, had been cut off with the proverbial shiUing 
by his father, and when the will was read it had such an 
effect upon the son's mind that he retired from society 
and became a changed man. One day Sir John, seeing 
the alteration in his brother's mode of life, invited him 
to dine at his house, and placing a dish before him, re- 
quested him to take off the cover and help himself to 
the contents. To the surprise of all present, it was found 
to contain the title deeds of the family estate of Kil- 
worthy, with a formal conveyance from the Speaker to 
his elder brother. Nor was this the only disinterested 
action of Glanville's life, for he is said to have reclaimed 
the celebrated Sir Matthew Hale from an idle and dis- 
solute life to become a great pleader and a greater 
judge. 1 

When the Long Parhament was about to assemble, 

^ Sir John Glanville's portrait is in the Speaker's collection, and 
there is another likeness by an unknown artist in the National Portrait 
Gallery, painted at the age of sixty-two. The ex-Speaker of the Short 
Parliament was imprisoned in the Tower from 1645 to 1648. Some 
of his speeches are contained in Rushworth's Collections. He was 
buried at Broad-Hinton, Wilts. 


Charles I designed the post of Speaker for Sir Thomas 
Gardiner, but, as he failed to obtain a seat in the 
House, William Lenthall, by the merest accident, was 
chosen in his stead ; 504 members being returned to 
serve at Westminster, of whom more than half had 
sat in the previous Parliament. The remarkable man 
who was called to the Chair in November, 1640, was 
born in 1591, not at Henley-on-Thames as has been 
generally supposed, but at Hasely in Oxfordshire, of 
parents whose lineage in that county can be traced 
to the fifteenth century, when a Lenthall married the 
heiress of Pypard of Lachford. He received the early 
part of his education at Thame grammar school under 
Richard Bourchier, and before he was sixteen years old 
he was entered at St. Alban Hall, Oxford, was called to 
the Bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1616, and entered the House 
of Commons as Member for Woodstock in the last Parha- 
ment of James I. He therefore sat for some years in the 
House with the redoubtable Coke. 

Having prospered at the Bar, he bought Besselsleigh, 
in Berkshire, from the ancient family of Fettyplace, in 
1633, a property which is still enjoyed by his descendants. 
In the course of the next year, he paid the Cavalier Lord 
Falkland, it is believed under an assumed name, £7000 
for Burford Priory, the house with which his name will 
always be chiefly associated. His wife, Elizabeth Evans, 
it will be remembered, was a cousin of Lord Falkland. 
The statement that Burford was acquired for him by 
the ParHament appears to be untrue. However that 
may be, he was living in the town for some years before 
he became the owner of the Priory. 

Nearly every modem writer who has treated the sub- 


1640, 1647, i6S4, 1659, 1659-60 

From a painting in the i\atiojtal Portrait Gallery 


ject of Parliamentary history and control has lauded 
LenthaU to the skies. Yet the opinion of many of 
his contemporaries was decidedly unfavourable. Claren- 
don thought him " in all respects very unequal to 
the work ; and not knowing how to preserve his own 
dignity, or to restrain the licence and exorbitance 
of others, his weakness contributed as much to the 
growing mischiefs as the malice of the principal con- 

D'Ewes, who sat under him from 1640 until ejected 
from the House by Pride's Purge, was suspicious of his 
honesty, and being himself a recognised authority on 
questions of Parliamentary procedure and etiquette, he 
was a vigilant and unsparing critic of his conduct 
in the Chair, until it was more than hinted that the 
Member for Sudbury, and not the Speaker, was the 
right man to settle questions of order, and to com- 
pose jarring discords in debate. On one occasion he 
reminded Lenthall that it was his duty to read to the 
House a message from the King, which he was about to 
delegate to the Clerk. Alternately patronising and criti- 
cising, D'Ewes would have been a thorn in any Speaker's 
side, and during the early days of the Long Parliament 
Lenthall must often have longed to be rid of him. 

Sir H. Mildmay was another member who treated him 
with scant courtesy. He dared to say in his place that 
the Speaker should come down to the House in good 
time. On which Lenthall, in a sudden access of passion, 
threw down a shiUing upon the table, this being the 
customary fine imposed on members who came in late. 
But if he was not exactly loved in the early days of his 
career, he was cordially hated by the Cavaliers when he 


continued to sit at Westminster after the death of the 

There was, however, one responsible official of the 
Long Parliament whose personal scruples proved, in 
the hour of crisis, to be tenderer than those of its 
presiding officer. This was Henry Els3mge, Clerk of 
the House from 1640 to 1648, when he voluntarily 
relinquished the service of the Commons to pass the 
remainder of his days in grinding poverty, rather than 
have it said that he even tacitly concurred with 
Cromwell and the Army in the trial and condemnation 
of his Sovereign. He appears to have been esteemed 
by men of all shades of political opinion, and to have 
consistently maintained the dignity of his office, despite 
occasional differences of opinion with the irrepressible 
D'Ewes, whose egregious vanity sometimes brought 
him into collision with constituted authority. Such was 
Elsjmge's acknowledged ability and discretion that in 
the turbulent years preceding his withdrawal from 
Westminster quite as much genuine respect was paid to 
the impersonal Clerk at the table as to the Speaker 
invested by the House at large with the traditional 
authority of the Chair. 

Lenthall, a consummate opportunist throughout his 
career, made the utmost possible use of the tool he found 
ready to his hand, and, in the early days of his power, 
he was deeply indebted to Elsynge for guidance and 
advice, habitually leaning upon him as a prop to sup- 
port his own inexperience in questions of procedure 
demanding an immediate decision from the Chair. 
What he thought of his colleague's unfailing devotion 
to duty and high character appears in the vindication 


5 7. 


of his own conduct, which he issued at the Restoration, 
when the changed circumstances of the time compelled 
him to make tardy confession of his gains and losses in 
the service of the State. 

Almost the only unfavourable critics, in modem times, 
known to the author are John Forster, who in his 
Arrest of the Five Members calls him "weak and common- 
place," and the late Mr. Charles Townsend, whose Memoirs 
of the House of Commons stUl afford such good reading. 
But Townsend somewhat overstates the case when he 
calls Lenthall "a poor creature, the tame instrument of a 
worse and more vulgar tyranny, the buffeted tool of the 
Army and the Rump, subdued to sit or go, to remain 
at home or return to find the doors of St. Stephen's 
shut or open, according to the will of his masters, 
the officers, and at the bidding of Cromwell." Rather 
would we say, with Dr. Gardiner, that, if not a great 
and heroic man, he knew what his duty was, and 
defined it in words of singular force and dexterity. 
Great historical crises have been determined one way 
or the other, and will be determined hereafter, not so 
much by men of heroic degree as by men who know what 
duty is and are prepared to act upon the knowledge. 
In the case of an office like the Speaker's there can be 
no posthumous fame without contemporary appreciation. 
And this, notwithstanding the adverse opinions quoted 
above, was accorded to the presiding genius of the 
Long Parliament to an extent unparalleled in the 
previous history of the Chair. The Corporation of 
Windsor voted him a gift of wine and a sugar-loaf ^ in 
the early days of his Speakership, and similar presents 
were showered upon him from time to time by the various 

> Tighe and Davis, Annals of Windsor, 1858, Vol. II, p. 154- 


municipalities which espoused the Parliamentary cause. 
The inscription on his portrait in the National Collec- 
tion also shows that it was painted expressly to com- 
memorate his action in the Chair at the time of the 
attempted arrest of the Five Members. 

Without any special gifts of oratory, Lenthall, at a 
time of exceptional difficulty, impressed his personality 
upon the House by his eminent common sense ; and, 
although his honesty at the time of the breaking off of 
negotiations with the King has been called in question, 
there is no room to doubt that by sheer force of character 
he preserved, during the twenty years in which he was 
in and out of the Chair, the historic continuity of his 
office, and this at a time when the monarchy itself 
suffered an interruption. On the other hand, he was 
avaricious; obsessed by a desire for the accumula- 
tion of wealth ; ^ greedy of power and rank ; and, 
towards the close of his career, somewhat unduly 
impressed with a sense of his own importance. One 
fact emerges very clearly from his tenure of office : 
he made rules, with the assistance of Elsynge, for the 
preservation of order in debate, without which the pro- 
ceedings of the Long Parliament would have been even 
more turbulent than they sometimes were. 

The quorum of the House of Commons was fixed at its 
present number on 5 January, 1641, when Lenthall had 
not been in the Chair more than two months. As late 
as 1801 an attempt was made to raise the limit to sixty, 

1 At one time he held the Mastership of the Rolls worth ;£3000 a 
year, the Speakership for which he received ;^20oo, a commissionership 
of the Great Seal ;^i50o, the Chancellorship of the Duchy of Lancaster, 
^1500 ; and he was also Chamberlain of the City of Chester, a lucrative 
sinecure coveted by many lawyers, before and since Lenthall's day. 


but without avail, and at forty it remains to this day. 
In the "Short Parliament" Lenthall was one of the 
committee on ship money and chairman of the com- 
mittee on grievances. Mr. Firth, in his admirable Life 
in the Dictionary of National Biography, states that he 
had occupied the Chair, in the absence of the real Speaker, 
during one or more debates in the Short ParUament, but 
the official Journals ^ show that it was as Chairman of the 
Committee of the whole House that he so presided. 

Lenthall's first complete session was an index to the 
stormy times ahead of him. In one year the House of 
Commons passed the Triennial Bill, a measure which it 
almost immediately ignored; it impeached Strafford 
and Laud ; it declared the levying of taxes without 
consent to be illegal; it abolished the Star Chamber; 
and, after a short recess, it sat for fifteen hours to pass 
the Grand Remonstrance.^ No wonder that the Speaker 
complained in pathetic tones to the House of the unusual 
length of their sittings. The unaccustomed strain of long 
hours in the Chair told upon his strength ; he became 
irritable and petulant, and after a little more than a year 
of office he had serious thoughts of tendering his resig- 
nation to the King. 

Long sittings in the House itself were not the only 
strain upon the Speaker's patience. On a fast day, 
piously observed by Parliament in November, 1640, 
Dr. Burgess and Master Marshall preached between them 
before the unfortunate Commons for the space of seven 
hours ! * and there were occasions when the protracted 

' Commons Journals, 23 April, 1640, Vol. II, p. g.- 
* 22 November, 1641. 

' Diurnal Occurrences of the Great and Happy Parliament, 1641, 
p. 4. 


debates prevented the Speaker from going home to 

Lenthall's personal expenditure at this time was heavy, 
as he entertained lavishly, amongst his guests being 
many courtiers as well as members of the Lower House. ^ 
Early in his career he lived in a house on the site of 
the Westminster Fire Office in King Street, Covent 
Garden ; but later on he took Goring House, on the site 
of Buckingham Palace, then a perfect rus in urbe, and 
it was there that most of his entertaining was done. 
Sir John LenthaU, his son, also Uved in the same house 
and seems to have owned the freehold at one time. 

On 3 January, 1641-42, that misguided monarch 
Charles I desired to impeach the five most prominent 
opponents of his government in the House of Commons,^ 
and he sent a message, delivered at the Bar of the House 
to the Speaker, requiring from him the five members, that 
they might be arrested, in His Majesty's name, on a 
charge of high treason. LenthaU, by command of the 
House, enjoined them to give attendance in the House 
de die in diem. On the next day the House met 
early in the morning, and considered in committee 
the charges which the King had brought against 
five of its number. Notice was taken of the muster 
of armed men at Whitehall and in the immediate 
neighbourhood of the Houses of ParHament. At noon 
the sitting was suspended " for an hour's space," 
but before it had ended the King's design to seize the 
accused was unfolded. 

1 On 9 April, 1642, the House voted LenthaU a sum of £6000 in 
consideration of his long and strict attendance to duty. 

2 Denzil Holies, Haselrig, Pym, HampdeB, and Strode. 


Lenthall returned to the Chair between one and two 
o'clock, when the House resumed the discussion on the 
gathering of armed men in the precincts of Westminster. 
The five members were then in their places, uncertain 
whether to remain or to depart, when news was brought 
in hot haste to the Speaker by a Mr. Fiennes to the effect 
that the King was nearing Westminster Hall at the head 
of a large company of guards. Leave was given to the 
accused to withdraw, but they had barely quitted the 
House and reached the boats which lay on the river at 
Westminster Stairs, when a loud knock on the door 
announced the entrance of the only King of England who 
has ever penetrated into a House of Commons in session. 

According to Rushworth, the Clerk-Assistant, who was, 
of course, an eye-witness of all the events of that memo- 
rable day : " His Majesty entered the House, and as 
he passed up towards the Chair, he cast his eye on the 
right hand near the Bar of the House, where Mr. Pym 
used to sit ; but His Majesty not seeing him there 
(knowing him well) went up to the Chair, and said, ' By 
your leave, Mr. Speaker, I must borrow your Chair a 
little ' ; whereupon the Speaker came out of the Chair, 
and His Majesty stepped into it. After he had stood in 
the Chair awhile, casting his eye upon the members as 
they stood up uncovered, but could not discern any of 
the five members to be there — ^nor, indeed, were they 
easy to be discerned (had they been there) among so 
many bare faces all standing up together, 

" Then His Majesty made this speech : — 

" ' Gentlemen, 

" ' I am sorry for this occasion of coming unto you. 
Yesterday I sent a Serjeant-at-arms upon a very im- 


portant occasion, to apprehend some that by my com- 
mand were accused of High Treason ; whereunto I did 
expect obedience, and not a message. And I must de- 
clare unto you here, that albeit no king that ever was 
in England, shall be more careful of your privileges, to 
maintain them to the utmost of his power, than I shall 
be, yet you must know that in cases of treason, no person 
hath a privilege. And therefore I am come to know if 
any of these persons that were accused are here.' 

" Then, casting his eyes upon all the members in the 
House, he said, ' I do not see any of them ; I think I 
should know them.' 

" ' For I must tell you, gentlemen, that so long as 
these persons that I have accused (for no sHght crime, 
but for treason) are here, I cannot expect that this 
House wiU be in the right way that I do heartily 
wish it. Therefore I am come to tell you, that I must 
have them, wheresoever I find them.' 

"Then His Majesty said, ,/ Is Mr. Pym here?' To 
which nobody gave answer. ' Well, since I see all my 
birds are flown, I do expect from you, that you shall 
send them unto me, as soon as they return hither. But 
I assure you, on the word of a king, I never did intend 
any force, but shall proceed against them in a legal and 
fair way, for I never meant any other. 

" ' And now since I see I cannot do what I came for, 
I think this no unfit occasion to repeat what I have said 
formerly. That whatsoever I have done in favour, and to 
the good of my subjects, I do mean to maintain it. 

'"I will trouble you no more, but teU you I do expect 
as soon as they come to the House, you will send them 
to me ; otherwise I must take my own course to find 
them.' " 

When the King was looking about the House, the 
Speaker standing below by the Chair, His Majesty asked 


From a paint hig at the S/teakei-'s House 


him whether any of these persons were in the House ? 
whether he saw any of them ? and where they were ? To 
which the Speaker, falling on his knees, thus answered : — 

" May it please your Majesty, 

" I have neither eyes to see, nor tongue to speak 
in this place, but as the House is pleased to direct me, 
whose servant I am here ; and I humbly beg Your Ma- 
jesty's pardon, that I cannot give any other answer than 
this, to what Your Majesty is pleased to demand of me." 

The King, having concluded his speech, went out of 
the House, which by this time was in great disorder, 
and many cried out, so that he might hear, " Privilege ! 
Privilege ! " Fortimately for posterity, Rushworth, on 
this occasion, disregarded the condition of his appoint- 
ment on 25 April, 1640, namely : " That he shall not 
take any notes here without the precedent directions 
and command of this House, but only of the orders and 
reports made to this House." On the contrary, whilst 
the hand of Elsynge, his official superior, was stayed by 
doubt, Rushworth took down the King's words in short- 
hand, and also the memorable reply which he received from 
Lenthall. The accuracy of his notes is unquestionable, as 
the King, baffled and perplexed as he was when standing 
on the step of the Speaker's chair, had noticed Rush- 
worth's pen at work and sent for the report of the words 
so noted down, returning it to him with corrections. 
The incidents of this single day inspired John Forster, 
the biographer of Dickens, with material for an entire 
volume. Soon after this unique incident in the history 
of the House of Commons Charles left Whitehall, 
never to return to it till he came there to die; and 


on the final disruption between Crown and Parliament 
the only course which remained was the arbitrament of 

In June, 1642, the Speaker gave a horse and fifty 
pounds in money in defence of the Parliament, a sufii- 
cient indication of the trend of his political convictions, 
and in direct contrast to the fulsome language in which 
he had addressed the Throne at the conclusion of the 
session of 1641. In that speech, reported in full in the 
Journals of the House of Lords for 2 December, he said : — 

" Give me leave here, most gracious Sovereign, to sum 
up the sense of eleven months' observation, without in- 
termission (scarce) of a day, nay an hour in that day, 
to the hazard of hfe and fortune, and to reduce aU into 
this conclusion : The endeavours of your Commons 
assembled, guided by your pious and religious example, 
is to preserve Religion in its purity, without mixture or 
composition, against these subtle invaders ; and, with 
our lives and fortunes, to establish these Thrones to your 
sacred person, and those beams of Majesty your Royal 
progeny, against treason and rebellion." 

Lenthall probably participated in the spoliation of 
Whitehall Palace, and he secured for his own collection a 
portrait of the King, by Vandyck,^ and a group, in the 
manner of Holbein, of Sir Thomas More and his family. 
This latter picture hung at Burford Priory for many 
years, and after being sold in 1833, it reappeared at 
Christie's during the present year,^ when it fetched 950 
guineas at auction. 

Some of the Speaker's biographers have assumed, 
quite erroneously, that he secured for the gallery at 

'■ Sometimes stated, however, to have been a gift to the Speaker 
from the Sovereign. « 1910. 


Burford some of the pictures removed from Hampton 
Court at this period. In making this statement they 
were probably unaware that Lenthall owned a large 
landed property, in Herefordshire, also called Hampton 
Court, which had been in the possession of his family 
since the reign of Henry IV. Sir Roland Lenthall, 
Master of the Robes to that sovereign, and who fought at 
Agincourt, had licence to embattle his manor-house and 
to impark a thousand acres, and from his brother Walter, 
whose will was dated in 1421, the Speaker was seventh 
in direct descent. A curious portrait, painted on panel, 
presented by Henry IV to Sir Roland, is still preserved 
at Besselsleigh, together with the bulk of the pictures 
from Burford, an interesting collection of Stuart reUcs, 
including a glove of Charles I, the Speaker's walking- 
stick, a portrait group of himself and his family by 
Dobson, and a great number of rare Civil War tracts and 
pamphlets. The canopy of the Chair which Lenthall 
filled with such distinction was presented by him to 
Radley Church, near his Berkshire estate, at the Resto- 
ration. Though black with age, it is still in good pre- 
servation, and is in all probability the oldest piece of 
Parliamentary furniture in existence. 

Lenthall continued to preside over the House until 
26 July, 1647, when, the Army and the Parliament 
having quarrelled, both Lords and Commons and the 
City were placed at the mercy of the military party, 
which had, by that time, become a highly organised 
political association. The Speaker, acting on a hint 
conveyed to him by Rushworth, abandoned his post and 
left London, fearing the violence of the mob. On the 
same day the Common Council appeared at Westminster 


and compelled the two Houses by threats to rescind their 
late votes, Cromwell and the army being the absolute 
masters of the situation. 

" Several members having been desired by the House 
to repair to the Speaker's house, ^ reported that Mr. 
Speaker was not to be heard of, that he had not lodged 
at his house that night, but was gone out of town yester- 
day morning. "2 

On 6 August the truants returned with the army 
for escort, and Lenthall was back in the Chair he had so 
recently deserted. An ordinance annulling all orders 
" made or pretended to be made " in his absence was 
promptly passed, and Pride's Purge, the real object of 
which was to exclude the Presbyterians from the House 
as being too favourable to the King, took place on Decem- 
ber, 1648, apparently without articulate protest from the 
Speaker. It has often been stated by unauthoritative 
writers that in the previous August Lenthall gave his 
casting vote in favour of breaking off negotiations with 
the King in the Isle of Wight on the basis of the 
Hampton Court proposals. Neither Dr. Gardiner, in his 
exhaustive History of the Civil War, nor Professor Firth, in 
the Dictionary of National Biography, makes any allusion 
to this supposed discreditable incident in his career ; and 
the present writer was at first disposed to regard both 
debate and division as the phantom of some partisan 
brain. However, on searching the official Journal for 
the year in question, he found that on 28 July — ^not in 
the month of August — the Speaker did give a cast- 
ing vote, but only on a minor and immaterial issue 

1 Goring House, in Pimlico, now Buckingham Palace. 

2 Commons Journals, 29 July, 1647. 


connected with a more important decision of the House. 
On the question being put : " That a Treaty be had in 
the Isle of Wight with the King in person, by a Com- 
mittee appointed by both Houses upon all the proposi- 
tions presented to him at Hampton Court, for the taking 
away of Wards and Liveries, and for settling of a safe 
and well-grounded Peace," a member, unnamed, moved 
that the words " and not elsewhere " be added after the 
words " Isle of Wight " to the question already proposed 
from the Chair. On a division being taken, fifty-seven 
were found to have voted for the inclusion of those 
words, and fifty-six against. A Mr. Askew, who was in 
the Gallery at the time, and who withdrew into the 
Committee Chamber without having declared upon which 
side he wished his vote to be recorded, was ordered by 
the Speaker to make his choice, and having given his 
vote with the Yeas,^ the numbers became equal, fifty- 
seven on either side. The Speaker then gave his casting 
vote, but only against the addition of the words " and 
not elsewhere " ; and on the Main Question being put, 
it was unanimously resolved " that a Treaty be con- 
cluded," etc. etc., in the terms of the original motion.* 

Whilst Lenthall must therefore be acquitted of the 
charge of having influenced the decision of the House at 
a critical moment in the King's fortunes, he cannot be 
wholly exonerated from a suspicion of double dealing at 
this period in the struggle between the Crown and the 
Parliament, as there is evidence of his having been en- 
gaged in secret correspondence with the Prince of Wales 
at the very moment that the question of resuming nego- 

^ Sic in the original Journal, but the sense requires the substitution 
of the word " Noes " for " Yeas." 
' Commons Journals, Vol. V, p. 650. 


tiations with his royal father was hanging in the balance. 
Manning, though he may be presumed to have con- 
sulted the Journals of the House when he wrote his book 
on the lives of the Speakers, gives an inaccurate version 
of the facts related above, and treats Lenthall's vote as 
if it had turned the scales in favour of the King, which, 
it will be seen, it did not. 

It was, however, Lenthall's casting vote which saved 
the hfe of Lord Goring ; ^ and the humanity and courage 
which he displayed in incurring the displeasure of the 
more powerful party, which was in favour of sending 
Norwich to the scaffold, probably induced him, on his 
deathbed, to issue a public apology for his attitude at 
the King's trial. After Goring's reprieve the Speaker 
was invited to a banquet by the Lord Mayor, who re- 
signed to him the civic sword, an honour usually paid to 
Royalty alone. 

After the establishment of the Commonwealth the 
nation was not truly represented at Westminster, and 
the rift between the Army and the Parliament broad- 
ened in consequence. A Bill was brought in, with 
Cromwell's approval, to fix a time for the dissolution 
of the existing House, as many of his adherents were 
beginning to chafe under the imcontrolled rule of a 
single chamber. During the Dutch war the Army be- 
came still more disaffected, until it was rumoured that 
Cromwell was meditating the restoration of monarchical 
government under another guise. " What if a man 
should take upon himself to be King ! " he said to 
Whitelocke, realising, as he did, that the rivalry between 
the Army and the ParUament coUld not be indefinitely 
prolonged without grave danger to the State. 

* Afterwards Eaxl of Norwich. 


Continuous Parliamentary government is, in all 
essentials, antagonistic to the supremacy of an army, 
and this was the condition which Cromwell had to take 
seriously into account when, in 1653, he determined to 
get rid of the existing House of Commons, lest the Army, 
which had made him what he was, should instal Lam- 
bert, the second man in England and the darling of the 
soldiery, in his place. After he had addressed a meeting 
of officers at the Cockpit, in the month of April, urging 
the reform of the realm, but not with the existing Parha- 
ment, news was brought to him at Whitehall that the 
House was disposed to bring its existence to a close. The 
rumour proved to be untrue, for the House was busily 
engaged in passing a Bill designed to perpetuate its 
authority. Once his mind was made up Cromwell acted 
at once. He marched a file of musketeers down to the 
House, and stationed them at the very spot where 
Charles I's guard had remained stationed on the occasion 
of the attempted arrest of the five members. This time 
they filed through the doorway, Cromwell shouting to the 
House that he would put an end to " their prating." The 
Speaker was pulled out of the Chair, the " bauble " mace 
was taken away, the members were dispersed by force, 
and Cromwell, with the keys in his pocket, returned to 
Whitehall. " Make way for honester men ! " was the 
cry which rang in Lenthall's ears as he was helped out 
of the chair. 

Scobell, the Clerk of the House, siding with the victor, 
put the finishing touch to the work of the Lord General 
by entering on the Journal page : " Wednesday, 20th 
April, 1653. This day his Excellency the Lord General 
dissolved this Parhament." He made a false entry in 


order to curry favour with Cromwell, well knowing that 
the only authority which could effect a dissolution of 
the House of Commons was the Crown. Though Crom- 
well could and did disperse the House, he could not dis- 
solve it. 

With the expulsion of the Long Parhament fell Lenthall, 
for a time, for he was not a member of the Barebones or 
Little Parhament which elected Francis Rous as its 
Speaker. This assembly, " the Reign of the Saints," ^ 
consisted of 140 nominees of Cromwell, which, after it 
had served the purpose of its masters by preparing the 
Instrument of Government, and paving the way for 
Ohver's assumption of the title of Protector, was cajoled 
by its Speaker into summary abdication. 

In the first Parhament of Ohver, Protector, summoned 
in September, 1654, the first name put forward was 
that of the old Speaker. " Something was said to excuse 
him, by reason of his former services, and something 
objected as if he had served so long, that he had been 
outworn " ; ^ but in the end his re-election to the Chair 
was imanimous, "in regard of his great experience and 
knowledge of the orders of the House and his dexterity 
in the guidance of it." This Parliament came to an end 
on 22 January, 1654-55 ; but in the next, the second 
Parliament of the Protectorate, he was not re-elected 
to the Chair. 

Lenthall now hankered after a writ of summons to 
Cromwell's House of Lords, and he complained that he, 
who had been for some years the first man of the nation, 
was denied to be a member of either House of Parhament ; 

1 Oliver Cromwell, by John Morley, 1900, p. 358. 

2 Burton's Diary. 


for he was held to be incapable of sitting in the House of 
Commons by his place as Master of the Rolls, whereby he 
was obliged to attend merely as an assistant in the other. 
Cromwell eventually sent him a writ, and in the carica- 
ture of the Upper House, which met in January, 1658, 
he took his place, in company with Fleetwood, Monk, 
and Pride. Hazelrig, whom Cromwell had designed for 
the same dignity, refused to be promoted, and became the 
recognised leader of the Commons, and, after Cromwell's 
death, one of the most powerful men in England. 

On the fall' of Richard Cromwell the Army desired to 
restore the Long Parliament, and a deputation waited on 
Lenthall to urge him to return to his seat. After many 
excuses,^ he consented to preside over the forty-two mem- 
bers of the Rump, and on 7 May, 1659, he proceeded 
once more to St. Stephen's Chapel with the mace in 
front of him. His position was now greatly increased 
in dignity, even commissions in the army were not valid 
until countersigned by him, and no Speaker before him 
was invested with such far-reaching authority. 

" Cut out more work than can be done 
In Pluto's year but finish none, 
Unless it be the bulls of Lenthall, 
That always pass'd for fundamental." 2 

Once more the attenuated assembly was to be 
violently dispersed. On 13 December Lambert drew up 
his forces in Westminster, obstructing all passages to 
the House both by land and water, setting guards at 
all the doors, and interrupting the members from coming 
to take their seats. When the Speaker appeared in his 

1 Lenthall had previously declared that he was not altogether satis- 
fied that the death of the King had not put an end to the Parliament. 

2 Butler's Hudibras, and an obvious allusion to the " Rump." 


coach the horses were turned back. " Do you not know 
me ? " he said. " If you had been with us at Winnington 
Bridge, we should have known you," repUed the soldiers.^ 
Lenthall was unceremoniously conducted to his own 
house, the mace was taken from him by Lambert, and 
the Army recovered supreme authority. 

On Christmas Eve, 1659, a new revolution took 
place. The soldiery assembled in Lincoln's Inn Fields 
and resolved to restore the Parliament. They halted in 
Chancery Lane at the Speaker's door, for Lenthall was 
in residence at the Rolls House, and there they hailed 
him as their general and the father of their country. 
Two days later he was again in the Chair, and the 
remnants of the Long Parliament were once more restored. 
Pepys noted in his diary that the Speaker hesitated to 
sign the writs for the choice of new members in the place 
of the excluded, but on Monk declaring for a free Parha- 
ment in February, 1659-60, the Restoration was in sight. 
Military and Parliamentary rule had alike become distaste- 
ful and obnoxious to the people, and the nation at large 
was prepared to welcome the restoration of the Monarchy. 

Lenthall, having decided to throw in his lot with 
Monk, declared himself to be devotedly attached to 
the monarchical principle, and he told a personal friend, 
who was present at his deathbed,^ that Monk was able 
to assure Charles II that, had it not been for his secret 
concurrence and assistance, the Restoration could never 
have been brought about. 

' Sir George Booth headed a rising in Cheshire for Charles II. 
Lambert marched against him and defeated him at Winnington (not 
" Warrington," as the Dictionary of National Biography has it) Bridge. 

* Dr. Dickenson, a physician in St. Martin's Lane and a Fellow 
of Merton. 


Lenthall was a candidate for the University of Oxford 
in the Convention Parliament, but, in spite of Monk's 
influence being cast in his favour, he was not elected, 
nor was he able to retain the Mastership of the Rolls at 
the Restoration. He was excepted from the Act of 
Indemnity, but, possibly on account of his having lent 
Charles II ;f3000, a sum which has never been repaid to 
this day, he subsequently obtained the King's pardon.^ 

His son. Sir John Lenthall, was returned for Abingdon 
in 1660, but his connection with Parliament on this 
occasion was brief. Having made an incautious speech 
on the Indemnity Bill, in which he said " that he that 
drew his sword against the King committed as high an 
offence as he that cut off the King's head," he was 
severely reprimanded at the bar by the new Speaker, Sir 
Harbottle Grimston, who had no great hking for the 
presiding genius of the Long Parhament, and, perhaps, 
rather welcomed the opportunity of administering a 
reproof to his offspring. Two days later he was expelled 
the House, soon after to be rewarded by the King with 
the Governorship of Windsor Castle. 

Lenthall seems to have thought it advisable to publish 
a pamphlet, copies of which are now extremely rare, 
purporting to give a full and accurate account of his 
profits and gains in the public service from 1648 to 1660, 
but deliberately excluding all mention of sums received 
before the first-mentioned date. In it he declared that 
before he became Speaker he had an assured income of 
£2500 from his practice at the Bar, that when he suc- 
ceeded Sir Charles Caesar as Master of the RoUs the 

1 The original document with the royal seal and signature is still 
preserved by the family at Besselsleigh. 


emoluments of the office were less than in the time of 
his predecessor by £2200, a sum equivalent to what he 
received in respect of private Bills and Pardons. He 
pointed out that as the Clerks of the House were also 
paid by fees these could not have been excessive, since 
one of the ablest men who ever executed that ofifice^ 
died in such poor circumstances that he was buried 
at the expense of his friends. He asserted that the 
Chancellorship of the Duchy of Lancaster brought him 
"only labour for his pains," that he was prepared to 
state on oath that from 1648 he never received anything 
from the Chair by way of fee or reward; and that, 
having settled the bulk of his estate on his son, he 
estimated his total annual income in 1660 at ^800, and 
his personal property (including, oddly enough, his 
debts) at no more than £2000. The short remainder 
of Lenthall's hfe was passed in retirement at his 
Oxfordshire home. 

In a remote situation in a fold of the Cotswold hills, 
in the valley of the little river Windrush, and surrounded 
by the most delightful sylvan scenery, Burford Priory 
exhibits many interesting features of the domestic archi- 
tecture of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth 
centuries. After years of wanton neglect, which eventu- 
ally led to its becoming a melancholy ruin — the home 
of bats and owls — it has recently been thoroughly and 
lovingly repaired, rather than restored, under the capable 
supervision of its present owner, Colonel de Sales La 
Terriere, acting as his own architect. 

In 1808 the whole of the north wing was pulled 
down, together with half of the eastern front. The 

' Elsynge. 





south wing, which was built by the Speaker — as was the 
existing but disused chapel connected with the main 
buUding by an external gallery — fell into decay and was 
demoUshed in order to provide material for new farm 
buildings within the last fifty or sixty years. Neither 
of the wings so ruthlessly destroyed has been rebuilt, but 
the ballroom, or great chamber, on the first floor, with 
a beautiful plaster ceiling and a chimney-piece enriched 
with the armorial bearings of the Lenthalls, presents 
much the same appearance as it must have done when 
the Speaker of the Long Parliament hung the pictorial 
spoils of Whitehall on its lofty walls. 

An even more interesting feature of the Priory, as it 
stands to-day, is the rediscovery of some of the original 
pointed arches of the thirteenth-century religious house. 
These, which were found embedded in the interior walls 
during the repairs undertaken during the last two years, 
appear to have been deliberately concealed from view in 
the time of Henry VIII by the then owners, the Harmans, 
whose heraldic supporters, with the Lenthall coat of 
arms between them, are still to be seen over the 
entrance door. These arches, the very existence of 
which must have been quite unknown to the Speaker, 
have been carefully re-erected within a few feet of where 
they were found, and constitute, with their fine curves 
and time-worn edges, an enduring hnk between the 
monastic building and the Tudor dwelling-house. The 
stone fire-place, now in the hall, though not occupying 
its original site, may date from an even earher period 
than the ownership of the Harmans. 

Since its conversion from ecclesiastical to lay uses 
Burford has known many owners, most of them 


persons of distinction in their day, and nearly all of 
whom have left their mark upon the old building. 
After the Harmans it came into the possession of the 
Duchess of Somerset, but, having passed to the Crown, 
Queen Elizabeth sold it to Sir John Fortescue, Chancellor 
of the Exchequer in 1589, who, in his turn, parted with 
it to Sir Lawrence Tanfield, Chief Baron of the Exchequer 
in 1625. He rebuilt the greater part of the house in 
the reign of James I, and Lucius Cary, Lord Falk- 
land, Lenthall's immediate predecessor here, was his 

King James and Anne of Denmark stayed with the 
Tanfields at the Priory in 1603 ; Charles I refreshed him- 
self and his troops at the Speaker's in 1644 on his way 
from Oxford to Bourton-on-the- Water ; Charles II dined 
here in 1681 with Sir John Lenthall,^ and attended the 
races held on the neighbouring downs, the King being 
received by the Mayor and Corporation of Burford on 
the occasion. These time-honoured races, which gave 
birth to the Bibury Club of after days, were held on 
an upland course between Burford and Bibury for 
150 years before their removal, first to Danebury, 
near Stockbridge, and, more recently, to Salisbury. 
Nell Gwynne was also an occasional visitor to the 
Priory in its roystering days, and it will be recollected 
that one of the minor titles of her son, the Duke of St. 
Albans, was Lord Burford. 

William III slept at the Priory in 1695, when it was 
in the occupation of the fifth Earl of Abercom, who 
married the widow of William Lenthall, only daughter 

' The Speaker's son and a well-known profligate at the Court of 


and heiress of James Hamilton, Lord Paisley, by his 
wife Catherine, daughter of a brother of the Speaker. 
Lord Abercom seems to have carried on the dissipated 
traditions of the Priory in the days of Charles II, for 
he was tried at Oxford in 1697 for the murder of John 
Prior of Burford, his wife's steward. It is only fair to 
add that he was acquitted of the capital charge. Incident- 
ally, justice was appeased by the hanging of a gardener in 
his stead. Numerous alterations were made to the house 
at the beginning of the nineteenth century, since which its 
history has been one of sordid disfigurement at the 
hands of its responsible owners until it was saved from 
utter ruin and destruction by Colonel La Terriere in 

When Lenthall was nearing his end his conscience so 
troubled him that he sent to Witney to ask Dr. Ralph 
Brideoak, afterwards Bishop of Chichester, to come over 
to Burford and hear his dying confession and to 
absolve him from his sins. It was then that he 
apologised for his share in the trial and execution of 
the Kiag; and though it is usually unsafe to attach 
much importance to deathbed confessions, admirers of 
the independence which he displayed earUer in his 
Parliamentary career can appreciate the remorse which 
fiUed his soul and induced him to make such reparation 
as he could when at the point of death. 

Dr. Brideoak, having entreated the dying man to 
relieve his conscience by a fuU confession, invited him 
to say to what extent he considered that his pubHc 
career had transgressed the teaching of the Ten Com- 
mandments. Laying stress upon the fact that dis- 
obedience, rebellion, and schism were the greatest 


sins against the fifth of these precepts, Lenthall replied : 
"Yes, sir, there is my trouble, my disobedience, not 
against my natural parents, but against the Pater Patriae, 
our deceased Sovereign. I confess, with Saul, I held their 
clothes whilst they murdered him ; but herein I was not 
so criminal as Saul was ; for God, Thou knowest ! I never 
consented to his death ; I ever prayed and endeavoured 
what I could against it ; but I did too much. Almighty 
God, forgive me ! " 

" I then desired him to deal freely and openly on 
that business, and if he knew any of those villains that 
plotted or contrived that horrid murder, who were not 
yet detected, now to discover them. He answered that 
' he was a stranger to that business ; his soul never 
entered into that secret, but what concerns myself I 
will confess freely. Three things are especially laid to 
my charge, wherein, indeed, I am too guilty : that I 
went from the Parliament to the Army ; that I proposed 
the bloody question for trying the King ; and that I 
sat after the King's death. To the first I may give this 
answer, that CromweU and his agents deceived a wiser 
man than myself, that excellent King, and they might 
deceive me also, and so they did. I knew the Presby- 
terians would never restore the King to his just rights ; 
those men swore they would. For the second no excuse 
can be made, but I have the King's pardon, and I hope 
Almighty God will show me His mercy also. Yet, sir,' 
said he, 'even then, when I put the question, I hoped 
the very putting the question would have cleared him, 
because I believed four for one were against it ; but they 
deceived me also. To the third I make this candid con- 
fession, that it was my own baseness and cowardice and 


From a painting in the possession of the Earl oj Yarboroiigh 


unworthy fear to submit my life and estate to the mercy 
of those men that murdered the King, that hurried me 
on, against my own conscience, to act with them, yet 
then I thought also I might do some good and hinder 
some ill. Something I did for the Church and Univer- 
sities, something for the King, when I broke the Oath 
of Abjuration, as Sir O. B. and yourself know ; some- 
thing, also, too for his return, as my lord G., Mr. J. T., 
and yourself know. But the ill I did overweighed the 
httle good I would have done. God forgive me for this 
also.' " Brideoak then allowed him the absolution of the 
Church, and LenthaU received the Sacrament the next 
day. Having repeated the substance of his confession to 
Dr. Dickenson, of Merton College, who was at Burford 
at the time, he spent the few remaining hours of his life 
in devotion and penitential meditation .^ In his will 
he humbled himself to the dust, and ordered that 
no monument should be raised to his memory other 
than a plain stone with the legend " Vermis sum." 
The original terms of the will are worth quoting : " As 
to my body and burial I do leave it to the disposition 
and discretion of my executors hereafter named. But 
with this special charge: That it be done as privately 
as may be without any pomp or state, acknowledging 
myself to be tmworthy of the least outward regard of 
this world, and unworthy of any remembrance, that 
have been so great a sinner. And I do further charge 
and desire that no monument be made for me, but at 
the utmost a plain stone with this superscription only : 

^ This deathbed repentance and confession was twice printed in 
1662, and reissued forty years later as an appendix to the Memoirs of 
the Two Last Years of the Reign of King Charles I, by Sir Thomas 
Herbert and others. 


' Vermis sum.' " The inscription was, however, placed on 
his coffin plate, as was discovered when the vault in which 
he was buried was opened to allow of another interment. 
There is a portrait of Lenthall, attributed to Vandyck, 
in the Speaker's House, but it is more probably the work 
of Henry Peart, one of his many pupils. Rushworth, 
whose name will always be associated with LenthaU, by 
reason of his action on the attempted arrest of the five 
members, is also commemorated in the Speaker's Portrait 

Some mention should be made of the temporary Crom- 
wellian Speakers, eight in number, who sat in the Chair 
of the Commons between the date of Lenthall's first 
leaving it in 1647 and the final dissolution of the Long 
Parliament. Henry Pelham, of Belvoir, Lincolnshire, 
though not mentioned by Manning, was chosen by the 
Presbyterian section of the House by general approba- 
tion on 30 July, 1647, on Lenthall's joining the Army, 
and not long after Charles was taken prisoner.^ The 
member for Grantham (who sat for the same con- 
stituency in the Short Parliament of 1640, and earher 
for Great Grimsby) was conducted to the Chair by Sir 
Anthony Irby and Mr. Richard Lee, and there he re- 
mained until replaced by Lenthall in the month of 
August, when the Army and Cromwell had become the 
real masters of the situation. As one of the leading 
Presbyterians, he was secluded and imprisoned when 
Pride's Purge took place in 1648, but was liberated six 
days later. 

In the "Barebones," or Little ParUament, the Chair 

' He was the third son of Sir William Pelham, of Brocklesby, by 
Anne, daughter of Charles, second Lord Willoughby of Parham. 

. "\(iiiiri I'h'' //■/■•.•, t ^,ii.<. iiniu' ri_ai/nu.- ^^- luj- 

•Jf!.}/ /J.-- hu fii(/./(n hare ju-t Jr rn/' .;■'///■/*■> 
j\vf God It fcr& . am/ // Gods Kiro sfn//^ pr . 

fkam;is kous 

F>-oiii a (•riiit 


was filled by the Rev. Francis Rous, a Cornish gentleman 
of good family and education. His career was a most sin- 
gular one, even in an age of xmexpected happenings. An 
ordinance passed by the Lords on 10 February, 1643-44, 
deprived Richard Steward, the Provost of Eton, of his post 
and appointed Rous in his stead " for the term of his 
natural life." He contrived to get Eton exempted from 
the " Self-Denying Ordinance," in order that he might 
retain his emoluments, and it was probably owing to 
Rous's exertions that the College was also exempted 
from the sale of the estates of religious corporations. 
The Provost was rewarded for his subservience in the 
Chair by a writ of summons to Cromwell's short-lived 
House of Lords. He was buried in Lupton's Chapel 
at Eton, and his portrait still hangs in the Provost's 

Sir Thomas Widdrington, of an old Northumbrian 
family, many of whose members were CavaUers, filled the 
Chair in Oliver's second Parliament, from 17 September, 
1656, till it was dissolved on 4 February, 1657-58. He 
then became Chief Baron of the Exchequer. He was 
brother-in-law to Fairfax, and sat in the Commons Chair 
when Cromwell declined the crown. At the Restoration 
Widdrington was deprived of all his offices. Pepys 
alludes to him as " My Lord Widdrington going to seal 
the Patents for the Judges in January, 1659-60," he 
having been a Commissioner of the Great Seal on three 
separate occasions. Such evidence as exists as to his 
demeanour in the Chair shows him to have been any- 
thing but a strong Speaker, but his incompetence was 
perhaps partly due to his habitual iU-health. On 
8 January, 1657, the adjournment of the House 


for a week was agreed to by reason of his indisposition. 
On the i2th the Speaker was brought in a sedan chair 
to the lobby door, and with much ado he was hoisted 
into the Chair, but " looked most piteously." Being 
asked to deal plainly with the House, he was invited to 
declare the cause of his sufferings. " If you please to 
go on," was his meek answer, " I shall sit till Twelve 
o'clock." But his intentions were obviously beyond 
his strength, and the House again adjourned for a 

In 1657 Cromwell was an inexorable master, and, as 
Thurloe observes, he required " too much to have been 
expected" of Parliament. The House confirmed more 
than a hundred Bills and Ordinances in one day, nothing 
being read but the titles. From 24 to 30 April members 
were kept in attendance from eight in the morning till 
nine o'clock at night, and the strain of sitting dinnerless 
in the Chair told upon Speaker Widdrington's health. 
On a division, in which the numbers were equal, he 
rose and said, " I am a Yea, a No I should say." Amid 
much ill-bred laughter another member claimed that he 
too had been mistaken in giving his vote ; but it was 
determined that, while some latitude might be extended 
to a weary Speaker, other members were not at Hberty 
to recall their votes. Later in the same sitting Speaker 
Widdrington blundered in putting a question to the 
House for its decision, and, when the mistake was chal- 
lenged, he appeared to be quite at a loss to explain his 
meaning. The House thereupon " fell into great con- 
fusion." During Widdrington's temporary absence from 
indisposition, that great lawyer, Bulstrode Whitelocke, 
well known from his Memorials of English Affairs, filled the 



From a drawmg in the National Portrait Gallery 



From a painting in the National Portrait Gallery 


Chair for a short time.^ When a proposal came before 
the House that lawyers should be precluded from prac- 
tising their profession if elected to Parliament, he used 
the following words : — 

" With respect to the proposal for compeUing lawyers 
tojsuspend^their practice while they sit in Parhament, 
I only insist that in the Act' for that purpose it be pro- 
vided^that merchants should^ forbear their trading, phy- 
sicians from visiting their patients, and country gentle- 
men from selling their corn or wool while they are members 
of this House." 

In Richard Cromwell's only Parliament Chaloner Chute, 
of the Vyne (a fine property which he bought in 1653 
from the sixth Lord Sandys), " a worthy gentleman of 
the long robe," was Speaker. He resigned from ill- 
health on 9 March, and died on 14 April. He had a great 
reputation as an advocate, and amongst other eminent 
men whom he defended was Archbishop Laud. Sir 
Lislebone Long, " by general consent of the House," was 
chosen in his stead ; but on 14 March he too informed 
the House that he was too unwell to sit, and within 
forty-eight hours of Chute he died. Thomas Bampfylde 
(M.P. Exeter) succeeded Long on 16 March, 1658-59, 
after one Mr. Reynell (M.P. Ashburton) had been pro- 
posed. Bampfylde was, however, preferred as being " a 
person of greater experience and of approved learning and 
gravity." From his nephew. Sir Coplestone Bampfylde, 
the present Lord Poltimore is descended. This Speaker's 
tenure of office was interrupted by the Committee of 
Safety. The last of Lenthall's many substitutes was 

• He is not mentioned by Manning, but the fact of his having been 
Speaker is established by reference to the Commons Journals, Vol. VII, 
p. 482. 


William Say, or Saye.^ a Bencher of the Middle Temple, 
and one of the Regicides, who sat in the Chair for a 
few days in January, 1659-60, during Lenthall's tempo- 
rary absence from indisposition. He was a member of 
the Long Parliament from 1647. At the Restoration his 
name was exempted from the Act of Indemnity, but he 
contrived to make his escape to the Continent. 

It is a curious fact that of these Cromwellian Speakers 
Pelham, Rous, and Bampfylde were members of old 
knightly families boasting pedigrees which satisfied that 
most exclusive of genealogists, Mr. E. P. Shirley, who in- 
cluded their names in his Noble and Gentle Men of England. 
Lenthall, Widdrington, Chute, and Long were all men 
of good family. Whitelocke, on his mother's side, was 
descended from the very ancient Buckinghamshire house 
of Bulstrode of Hedgerley. Even the Regicide Speaker 
could claim kinship with the Sir John Say who filled the 
same ofhce in 1449, so that in the darkest days of the 
Commonwealth the House was jealous of the status and 
origin of its presiding officer. 

At an age somewhat older than that of most holders 
of the office, Sir Harbottle Grimston was unanimously 
elected Speaker at the Restoration, on the motion of Mr. 
William Pierpont. Early in life he had been a strong 
Presbyterian, and prominent amongst those who opposed 
the rise of Cromwell and the Independents in the army. 
He was excluded from the House by Pride's Purge, and, 
disapproving as he did of the King's execution, he with- 
drew from public Hfe. Again elected for Essex in 1656, 
he was once more excluded. About 1652 he purchased 
the reversion of the estate of Gorhambury, his second 

' M.P. Camelford. 



Front a pahUuig at the I'yue^ Bastitgsiokc 



From a painting; in t/ie National Portrait Gallery by Lely 


wife having been a great-niece of Sir Nicholas Bacon, the 
builder of the now ruined mansion. Grimston held the 
Mastership of the Rolls concurrently with the Speaker- 
ship, and until his death in 1685.^ At the Restoration 
he was living in Lincoln's Inn, and he entertained the 
King at his house there soon after his arrival in London. 

The existing mace of the House of Commons dates 
from Sir Harbottle Grimston's Speakership. The earlier 
"fool's bauble," removed by Cromwell, was made in 
1649 by Thomas Maundy, a goldsmith in Fetter Lane, 
and, though it was formerly supposed that it was re- 
fashioned at the Restoration, it appears certain that the 
one now in use is wholly of the Charles II period. It 
weighs upwards of 250 ounces, and is rather less than 
five feet in length, whereas the Commonwealth mace is 
known to have been considerably smaller. The tradition 
that a mace at Kingston, in Jamaica, is the one turned 
out of the House by Cromwell appears to be without 
foundation, as the oldest now preserved in that island is 
of eighteenth-century workmanship. When the House 
of Commons is not in session the Serjeant-at-Arms re- 
turns the emblem of his office to the custody of the Lord 
Chamberlain's Department, whence it is reissued after 
each Parliamentary recess. 

The Convention Parhament met on 25 April, 1660. 
Charles II landed at Dover a month later, and on 29 May 
(his thirtieth birthday) the only one of the Stuarts who 
had tact and who knew when to give way entered London 

' In 1803 the Speaker's lineal descendant, the third Viscount 
Grimston, presented Sir Harbottle's portrait to the historical series 
preserved at Westminster, and his coat of arms from the old Rolls 
Chapel is still to be seen in a window of the museum at the Public 
Record Office. 


amidst universal rejoicing. The " Pensionary Parliament " 
of Charles II, though often unfavourably contrasted with 
the Long Parliament, showed itself extremely jealous of the 
privileges of the Commons, and sat for an even greater 
number of years than its famous predecessor. It ex- 
tended over seventeen sessions, and was presided over 
by four Speakers. 

The first of these, Sir Edward Tumour, an ancestor of 
the present Earl Winterton, occupied the Chair for 
ten whole years. Samuel Pepys, who knew him well, 
appeared before him on 4 March, 1668, to deUver his 
celebrated defence of the principal officers of the Navy. 
In the speech of his life he held the attention of a crowded 
House for over three hours in justification of himself and 
his colleagues. So favourable an impression did the 
speech produce that when Sir WilHam Coventry, the 
Chief Commissioner of the Navy, met him the next day 
he greeted him in the following words : " Good-morrow, 
Mr. Pepys that must be Speaker of the Parhament 
House." Coventry also told this invaluable pubhc ser- 
vant that he could earn £1000 a year at the Bar ; the 
Solicitor-General said that he was the best speaker in 
England ; and the Speaker himself declared that in all 
his experience of the House of Commons he had never 
heard such a good defence. All which must have been 
extremely gratifying to Pepys' well-known vanity. The 
diarist confesses that before going to Westminster on 
this memorable morning of his life he drank half a pint 
of mulled sack and a dram of brandy, after which he 
felt himself " in better order as to courage." He took 
great interest in the House of Commons even before he 
became a member, and in his Diary for 27 July, 1663, he 

-¥*^p^l^ ,.^ 


From a photograph in the possession of the ScTJeaitt-at-A rii/s { Mr. II. D. £}-skui 
of Cardross) 


relates how he crowded into the House of Lords, stand- 
ing close behind the Speaker when he recapitulated the 
Acts of the session to the King and desired the Royal 
Assent. " The Speaker's speech was far from any 
oratory, but was as plain (though good matter) as any- 
thing could be, and void of elocution." 

No man up to this date had occupied the Chair for 
anything like so long a time as Speaker Turnour. Len- 
thall's longest continuous term of office was, as we have 
shown, under seven years ; but during the decade of 
1661-71 the Speaker witnessed events as stirring and 
as far-reaching in their pohtical effect as any of his pre- 
decessors had taken part in. He saw the wreck of 
Clarendon (though his poUcy continued to commend itself 
to the majority of the House of Commons), the loss of 
England's command of the sea in the disastrous war with 
Holland, ending with the humiliating Treaty of Breda, 
hurriedly concluded after the Dutch fleet had sailed up 
the Medway, bombarded Chatham, and threatened Dover 
and Harwich. And when the thunder of the enemy's 
guns caused a panic in London the Speaker was hindered 
from taking the Chair until after the King had proceeded 
to the House of Lords, for fear anything should be resolved 
upon by the Commons contrary to the wishes of the 
Court. ^ 

* Considerable light is thrown upon the temper of the House 
at the time of this discreditable manoeuvre by the ubiquitous Pepys. 
Writing on 25 July, 1667, when details of the disaster were still wanting, 
he said : " Contrary to all expectation by the King that there would 
be a thin meeting, there met above 300 this first day, and all the dis- 
contented party ; and indeed the whole House seems to be no other 
almost. The Speaker told them, as soon as they were sat, that he 
was ordered by the King to let them know he was hindered by some 
important business to come to them and speak to them as he had 


Speaker Turnour saw the rise of the Cabal, that inner 
conclave of the King's advisers, two of whose members, 
at least, were in favour of restoring the Roman Catholic 
religion in this country ; but he may never have known 
that by a secret treaty, which Charles concluded with 
Louis XIV in 1670, in return for a heavy bribe, the King 
was pledged to declare his own adhesion to the Church 
of Rome as soon as the times were deemed to be ripe 
for a public declaration. [ >i 

Like many other pubUc men at this period. Speaker 
Turnour received large grants of public money, amount- 
ing in the aggregate to £11,000, as free gifts ; nor did 
he altogether escape the stigma of corruption. It was 
found that he was in receipt of a small gratuity from the 
East India Company, and in 1669 it was rumoured in 
the House that evidence existed of corrupt dealings on 
his part on a much larger scale. His elevation to the 
Judicial Bench may have been accelerated by a desire 
to shield him from unpleasant consequences if these 
charges were found to be proven. 

An order which was passed by the House shortly be- 

intended, and therefore, ordered him to move that they would adjourn 
themselves till Monday next, it being very plain to all the House that 
he expects to hear by that time of the sealing of the peace." Four 
days later, when the signing of the peace was generally known, he 
wrote : "I went up to the Painted Chamber thinking to have got in to 
hear the King's speech, but upon second thoughts did not think it would 
be worth the crowd, and so went down again into the Hall. . . . But 
presently comes down the House of Commons, the King having made 
them a very short and no pleasing speech to them at all." The King 
informed them that he had made peace, but gave no particulars and 
dismissed Parliament until October. But it leaked out that the 
Speaker's detention had been deliberately planned " for fear they should 
be doing anjd;hing in the House of Commons to the further dissatis- 
faction of the King and bis courtiers." 



From a painting in the Speaker s Hoitse 


fore his retirement from the Chair — " That the Back 
Door of the Speaker's Chambers be nailed up and not 
opened during any sessions of ParHament " — ^has given 
rise to some speculation without eUciting any definite 
agreement as to its motive. Though backstairs influence 
was so much in the ascendant at this period, it does not 
appear that the House, in making the order, had any 
ulterior object in view beyond regulating the entry of 
its members through one, and that the main, approach 
to the Chamber. From a much earlier date the Speaker 
had been provided with private apartments in which to 
don his robes, but there is no evidence to show that he was 
required to live in the Palace in the seventeenth century. 
Sir Edward Tumour, when in town, Uved, like so many 
of his predecessors, at the Rolls House in Chancery Lane. 
He died 4 March, 1675, at Bedford during the hearing of 
the assizes, and was buried with much ceremony at 
Little Parndon, Essex, on the south side of the chancel. 

An account of St. Stephen's Chapel, as it appeared in 
the sixteenth century, has been given at an earUer page. 
In the second part of Chamberlayne's AnglicB Notitia, 
published in 1671, there is a very fuU and interesting 
account of both Houses of ParHament as Pepys saw them. 

" The Commons in their House sit promiscuously, 
only the Speaker hath a Chair placed in the middle, and 
the Clerk of that House near him at the Table. They 
never had any robes (as the Lords ever had), but wear 
every one what he fancieth most, which to strangers 
seems very unbecoming the gravity and authority of the 
Great CouncU of England." 

But few nowadays will be f oimd to endorse the recom- 
mendation which follows : — 


" During their attendance on Parliament, a robe or 
grave vestment would as well become the honourable 
members of the House of Commons, as it doth all the 
noble Venetians, both young and old, who hath right to 
sit in the Great Council of Venice, and as it doth the 
Senators of Rome at this day." 

Though Chamberlajme only mentions one Clerk, there 
had been an assistant at least as early as the reign of 
James I. In the House of Lords, while the Clerk of the 
Parliament sat on the " lowermost woolsack " in 1671, his 
two assistants knelt behind it and wrote their minutes 
in the same uncomfortable posture. In another passage 
Chamberlayne speaks of the House of Commons as the 
" Grand Inquest of the Realm," an early use of a very 
familiar definition. But even before this the watchful 
eye of a foreigner had noted the general aspect of the 
House of Commons in the latter half of the seventeenth 
century. Monconys, who accompanied the Due de 
Chevreuse to London, Oxford, and other places in 1663, 
has placed on record his impressions of St. Stephen's, 
and, if for no other reason, they are valuable because 
they contain the earliest reference of which the author 
is aware to the green benches of the Lower House : — 

" Avant diner je fus a Westminster, d'oii les Deputez 
de la Chambre Basse sortoient. Le lieu ou ils s'assem- 
blent est une Chambre mediocrement grande, environn^e 
de six ou sept rangs de degrez converts de sarge verte, 
& disposez en Amphiteatre, au milieu desquels il y a un 
preau, au fonds duquel vis a vis de la porte est une grande 
Chaise a bras, avec un dossier de menue sarge dor6 & 
ouvrage, haut de sept ou huit pies, dans lequel s'assoit 
le President, tournant le^ dos a^a fengtre, & le visage k 
la porte. Au dessus de la porte, bien plus haut que les 


demiers degrez, il y a une tribune, ou il y a encore trois 
ou quatre rangs de ces degres ; il y a place pour 500 
personnes. Devant la chaise du President il y a un 
Bureau, oii sont les Griffiers, ou Secretaires." 

This French traveller and his patron were lodged in 
Westminster during their visit to London, at a house 
in the immediate vicinity of Palace Yard, which appears 
to have been set apart for the reception of foreign am- 
bassadors on their first coming to town. 

" II y a une assez belle place au devant, au fond de 
laquelle M. le Due alia loger, k cinq pieces par semaine 
ou 100 Chelins, dans la maison que M. Brunetti lui 
avoit loii^e, & ou le Roi loge les Ambassadeurs extra- 
ordinaires les trois premiers jours qu'ils arrivent, & oii 
il les d6fraye." ^ 

The session of 1671 is memorable in the annals of 
Parliament for the contention then first seriously ad- 
vanced by the Commons that the Lords were unable to 
amend a Money BiU. A sUght diminution of a proposed 
duty on sugar having been proposed by the Peers, a 
deadlock ensued between the two Houses, and, as neither 
side was disposed to give way, the Bill was dropped. 
Six years later the same difficulty was experienced 
when the Lords amended a Bill granting money for an 
increase in the fleet. On this occasion, however, the 
Lords did not insist upon their amendment. But in 
the following year the struggle between the two 

' Mr. de Moncony's descriptions of London, though little known, 
are so vivid and so evidently the results of personal experience, that 
they will repay careful attention. In the National Review, some years 
ago, the present author wrote an article on the French traveller's impres- 
sions of 1663, and the above extracts are taken from an edition, published 
in Paris in 1695, in the writer's possession. 


Houses was renewed over a Money Bill for the dis- 
bandment of troops. Public opinion being found to be 
hostile to a reduction of the armed forces of the Crown, 
in view of the threatening attitude of France, the ques- 
tion was not fought out to a conclusion ; but the venal 
assembly, contemptuously known as the " Pensionary 
Parliament," passed the Resolution quoted in every text- 
book of constitutional history, which has ever since been 
held to debar the Lords from amending, though not of 
rejecting or suspending, a Money Bill originating in the 
Lower House. 

Sir Job Charlton, whom Roger North calls " an old 
Cavalier, loyal, learned, grave, and wise," was the next 
Speaker. He is generally said to have been the son of 
a London goldsmith, by name Robert Charlton, and 
that his mother was the daughter of another, by name 
Thomas Harby ; but in the exhaustive list of London 
goldsmiths printed in Jackson's English Goldsmiths 
and their Marks, neither of these names occurs. It 
seems more probable that he came of a Shropshire 
stock, and that his father was Robert Charlton, of Whit- 
ton, in that county. He represented Ludlow in 1659, 
1660, and 1661, and died at his seat at Ludford, Here- 
fordshire, 24 May, 1697. As he only held of&ce for eleven 
days, little or nothing is known of his conduct in the 
Chair. He became Justice of the Common Pleas, but 
was removed on account of his opposition to James II's 
dispensing power. He had also been Chief Justice of 
Chester, but here he was no luckier, for he had to resign 
the post in favour of Jeffreys, who had " laid his eye on 
it." Charlton was the first Speaker to be made a Baronet, 
and when he resigned from ill-health, the House, for the 



Front a painting in the Speaker s House 


first time for 150 years, elected a Speaker who was not a 
lawyer. This was Sir Edward Seymour, of Maiden Bradley, 
Wilts, an aristocratic Tory, who held office for five years, 
when he too resigned on the plea of ill-health, though 
there is reason to believe that this was but a convenient 
excuse. The real reason was a difference of opinion with 
Danby, the master mind of the Government. 

Seymour was first voted to the Chair on 18 February, 
1672-3, and in October of the same year a wholly irregu- 
lar debate was initiated by Sir Thomas Littleton, who 
declared that he was unfitted to hold the office, owing 
to his being a Privy Councillor and his having admission 
to the most secret conclaves of the Court. " You are too 
big for that Chair, and for us," he said; " and you, that 
are one of the governors of the world, to be our servant, 
is incongruous." A Mr. Harbord was even more uncom- 
plimentary. " You expose the honour of the House in 
resorting to gaming-houses, with foreigners as well as 
Englishmen, and other ill places. I think you to be an 
unfit person to be Speaker, by your way of living." 
Colonel Strangways, however, came to Seymour's rescue, 
declaring that as for his being a gamester, exception 
might just as well be taken to the Judicial Bench for 
the same reasons.^ 

In Seymour's first session a debate arose on the printing 
of addresses to the King in connection with grievances 
concerniag the billeting of soldiers. On a motion to 
adjourn the debate, the numbers (on a division) were 
found to be equal, whereupon the Speaker gave his 
casting vote in favour of adjournment, saying, " He 
would have his reason for his judgment recorded, viz. 

^ Cobbetf s Parliamentary History, Vol. IV, p. 589. 


because he was very hungry." Seymour was a very 
proud, not to say overbearing, man, and he was un- 
popular with the general body of members. A trick 
was once played upon him by a wag, who handed 
him a petition, which the Speaker began to read aloud : 
" The humble petition of OUver Cromwell — the devil," 
whereon a shout of laughter caused him to throw down 
the paper and hasten from the Chair. 

On 10 May, 1675, a serious disturbance arose in Com- 
mittee of the whole House on the consideration of His 
Majesty's answer to an address for recalling British sub- 
jects from the service of the French King. The riot could 
only have been quelled by a strong man, and the Speaker's 
intervention has scarcely had a parallel since that day 
until Mr. Speaker Peel's memorable intervention in the 
Home Rule debate on 27 July, 1893.^ Seymour " very 
opportunely and prudently rising from his seat near the 
Bar, in a resolute and slow pace, made his three respects 
through the crowd, and took the Chair." The mace 
was laid on the table and the disorder ceased on the 
Speaker stating that he had acted, " though not accord- 
ing to order, with the intent of bringing the House into 
order again." ^ He " maintained the dignity of the Chair 
after that of the House was gone" by obliging every 
member present to stand up in his place and engage on 
his honour not to resent any of that day's proceedings. 
As an instance of his pride it is related that when he 
was presented to William III the King remarked that 
he believed Sir Edward was of the Duke of Somerset's 
family, whereupon the ex-Speaker retorted "that the 

^ Commons Journals, Vol, GXLVIII, p. 469. 
^ Grey's Debates, Vol. Ill, p. 129. 



Prpiti a draiving in the JSaitonnl Portrait Gallery 


Duke was rather of his family." Once, when his coach 
broke down at Charing Cross, he ordered the next 
gentleman's to be stopped and brought to him, and 
when its occupant expressed surprise, Sir Edward told 
him that it was more proper for him to walk in the 
streets than for the Speaker of the House of Commons. 

The year 1675 was a memorable one in English politics. 
Alternately inclining to the counsels of Shaftesbury and 
religious toleration, and to the advice of Danby, who 
desired the supremacy of the Anglican Church, Charles 
had allowed the Nonconformists to be harried to please 
the Churchmen, and had assented to the Test Act of 
1673 to gratify the hatred of both persuasions for the 
Roman Catholics. But a haunting fear in the public 
mind that the Protestant succession to the throne was 
still endangered convinced Danby that a new and more 
stringent test was required. The reorganisation of his sup- 
porters in the Commons which followed led to a cleavage 
of parties, out of which was gradually evolved the perma- 
nent division of English political opinion into two distinct 
bodies : the Tory and the Whig of after days. 

Whilst Danby's proposals were under consideration the 
relations of the two Houses became once more strained. 
Eveljm, writing in the summer of 1675, mentions a con- 
ference of Lords and Commons in the Painted Chamber, 
at which the Lords accused the representatives of the 
people of infringing their privileges, and brought forward 
once more the oft-quoted precedent of Henry IV. To 
gain time the King suddenly prorogued Parliament for 
four months, and the storm blew over. 

Sir Robert Sawyer, Pepys' " old chamber fellow " at 
Magdalene College, Cambridge, succeeded Sir Edward 


Seymour in the Chair on ii April, 1678 ; but years 
before that the same assiduous gossip had noted that " he 
do very well in the world." Like his two predecessors, he 
resigned from ill-health. Within a month of his election 
he was found to be suffering from a violent fit of the 
stone, attributed to his long sitting one day in the Chair. 
Sawyer's subsequent career was a chequered one. He 
became Attorney-General, defended the Seven Bishops, 
was expelled the House for his conduct in the case 
of Sir Thomas Armstrong in 1600, and was again re- 
turned (for Cambridge University) later in the year. 
The beautiful seat of Highclere, Hants, came to Lord 
Carnarvon's family from the Sawyers. The eighth Earl of 
Pembroke married Margaret Sawyer, Sir Robert's only 
daughter and heiress, in 1684, and her father built the 
church at Highclere in which he lies buried. Se3miiour's 
health being conveniently re-established, he returned to 
the Chair on 6 May, 1678, and held office till the 
Pensionary Parliament was dissolved, 24 January, 

On the meeting of Charles's third Parliament the King 
wished to force Sir Thomas Meres upon the House, but 
the Commons desired to have the services of Seymour 
once more. In a long dispute Seymour's re-election was 
refused by the King,^ and, though the Commons did not 
insist upon their original choice, they elected Serjeant 
Gregory in preference to the King's nominee. This was 
the last occasion on which the Sovereign attempted to 
impose his own choice upon the House ; and with Sey- 
mour's rejection began that period of 150 years, more or 
less, ending with the Speakership of Mr. Shaw Lefevre, 

* 15 March, 1678-79. 

From a painting; in the possession 0/ tiie Earl o/Carna^i'on 


during which the evolution of the non-partisan Speaker 
steadily proceeded. At the same time it should be noted 
that, though Charles failed to force Sir Thomas Meres 
upon the House, he was still powerful enough to procure 
the removal of his successor from the Judicial Bench when 
he gave a judgment in opposition to his personal wishes. 
Sir William Gregory, of How Caple, Herefordshire (a 
junior branch of the family of Gregory of Styvechal, in 
Warwickshire), like Speaker Charlton, was so removed 
for giving judgment against the King's dispensing 
power. He only sat in the Chair for four months, 
during which time the famous Habeas Corpus Act — 
the Statute which becomes more famous still when 
suspended — was passed into law. 

Towards the close of the reign of Charles II the growth 
of the party system brought with it considerable expense 
to ParUamentary candidates, especially in the counties. 
Evelyn's brother George spent nearly £2000 in 1678-79 
by " a most abominable custom " in carrying the county 
of Surrey against Lord Longford and Sir Adam Brown,^ 
when most of the money was spent in eating and drink- 
ing. His colleague was Arthur Onslow, grandfather of 
the celebrated Speaker of the same name. In 1685 
Evelyn and Onslow stood again, their opponents being 
Sir Adam Brown, who was stone deaf, and Sir Edward 
Evelyn, a cousin of the diarist. But, through a trick 
of the sheriff in holding the election a day before it 
was expected, the old members were not returned. 

The new names of Whig and Tory were generally 
applied to the respective members of the country and 
the Court party at the next general election. Though 

' Evelyn's Diary, 4 February, 1678-79. 


summoned for October, 1679, Charles's fourth ParUament 
did not meet for the despatch of business until a year 
later. Sir William WilHams, the Whig member for 
Chester, and a notable champion of the liberties of the 
Commons, was elected Speaker, nemine contradicente, on 
21 October, 1680. The first Welshman to fill the Chair, 
he migrated from Jesus College, Oxford, the home of the 
leek, to Gray's Inn.^ Luttrell tells a story of Sir Robert 
Peyton, 2 who had been expelled the House, going to 
Williams a few days after the dissolution and demand- 
ing satisfaction for a severe rebuke administered to him 
at the time of his expulsion. He wanted to challenge 
the Speaker to a duel, but thought fit to retreat in 
haste on the " young gentlemen of Gray's Inn " (of 
which Wilhams was a Bencher) showing signs of taking 
the law into their own hands on account of what they 
held to be Peyton's insolence to the Chair. 

In this Parliament, though the Exclusion Bill was 
thrown out in the Lords, the Lower House set itself 
steadily to curtail the prerogative of the Crown. It 
was, in consequence, dismissed in January, 1680-81. 
Popular excitement ran high in London over the fate 
of the Bill, and the King thought it prudent to 
summon his fifth Parliament to meet at Oxford in the 
month of March. Convocation House was fitted up for 
the Commons, and the Lords sat in the gallery above. 
Wilhams was unanimously recalled to the Chair, but 
after sitting for a week the King sent it about its busi- 
ness, saying, " Now am I King of England, if I never was 

1 This Parliament ordered the Votes and Proceedings of the House 
of Commons to be printed, and in the Journal Office are preserved 
many of the earliest issues extant. 

2 Knight of the Shire for Middlesex. 


From a painting in the Speakei's Hotise 


1680, i6So-8i 

/ ,1 />nill'ini^ in the S/', eiAi"'s ! ! 


before." Relieved of the Speakership, Williams returned to 
the Bar and became Solicitor-General in 1687. He died at 
his chambers, in Gray's Inn, in 1700, and was buried at 
LlansHen, Denbighshire. His portrait by Sir Godfrey 
Kneller has recently been presented to the House by Sir 
Alfred Thomas, Chairman of the Welsh Parliamentary 

The Welsh precedent, once set, was soon followed, for 
in James II 's only Parliament Sir John Trevor, of Bryn- 
kinalt, the ancestor of the present Lord Trevor, was 
unanimously called to the Chair, and at the accession of 
William III he was re-elected. Having been convicted of 
taking bribes, he was expelled the House in March, 1695, 
though he was allowed to remain Master of the RoUs, 
an office which he had held concurrently with the Speaker- 
ship. In the Speaker's Portrait Gallery at Westminster 
there hangs his likeness, showing him to have had a 
decided squint, a defect which, it might be thought, would 
have increased the proverbial difficulty of catching the 
Speaker's eye. His early days had been passed in the 
chambers of a kinsman in the Inner Temple — Arthur 
Trevor. One day a visitor observed a strange-looking boy 
seated at a desk, and asked his name. " Oh," said old 
Trevor, " he is a connection of mine whom I have 
allowed to sit here to learn the knavish part of the law." 
Being addicted to high play, he became a recognised 
authority in gambling disputes, and amongst his fellow- 
gamesters he had the authority of a judge whose decision 
was final. 

Trevor is said to have owed his promotion to the Chair 
to his cousin, the notorious Judge Jeffreys; and some 
years before, on a motion to remove Jeffreys from the 


Recordership of London, Trevor's was the only voice 
raised in his cousin's behalf. It was probably owing to 
this support that he was advanced to the position 
of a K.C. when Jeffreys became Chief Justice. The 
wits of the day declared that justice might be blind, 
but that bribery only squinted ; and when Trevor 
was expelled in 1695 they added that he could no longer 
take an obUque view of every question from the Chair. 
When Archbishop Tillotson chanced to meet him some 
little time before his disgrace, Trevor exclaimed, in an 
audible whisper, " I hate a fanatic in lawn sleeves " ; 
whereon the Archbishop turned and faced him, saying, 
" And I hate a knave in any sleeves." 

On the Bench he appears to have been as upright as 
he was unscrupulous in the House of Commons, and 
though he favoured the Protestant interest he remained 
faithful to James II. As Master of the Rolls he lived in 
Clement's Lane, then a fashionable street. On the 
erection of the New Law Courts, the greater part of it 
was demolished, but a small portion remains at the nor- 
thern end. Dying there in May, 1717, he was buried in 
the Rolls Chapel, so unnecessarily pulled down some 
years ago to make way for an extension of the Public 
Record Office. In the museum erected on its site Trevor's 
arms, with an enlarged copy of his signature, taken from 
one of the windows of the old chapel, are still to be seen. 
The Trevor estate at Knightsbridge belonged to the ex- 
Speaker, and, as Master of the Rolls, he set the bad 
precedent of hearing suitors at his private house, in what 
was then a pleasant suburb of London. 

With the Revolution which placed William III upon 
the throne, the history and importance of the Speaker- 


1685, 1689-90 

From a fiahithig in the Speaker's House 


ship may be said to enter upon a new phase. From 
that date the first Commoner of the realm has occupied 
his proper station at the head of Enghsh gentle- 
men ; whilst the character and consideration of his office 
was then, for the first time, recognised by the legislature. 
By I Wilham and Mary, c. 21, he ranks next to the 
peers of Great Britain, both in and out of Pariiament, 
though not until many years later did he cease to hold, 
concurrently with the Speakership, any office of profit 
under the Crown. The great Arthur Onslow, to silence 
any imputations of leaning towards the ministry of the 
day, set an example of independence almost invariably 
adhered to by his successors, yet, in his case, the now 
customary reward of a peerage after long service in the 
Chair was unaccountably withheld. 

The Speaker of the Convention Parliament, which 
assembled on 22 January, 1688-89, was naturally a 
member of the Whig party ; and though Sir Edward 
Seymour, the vehement Tory of earlier days, joined the 
Prince of Orange at Exeter in the vain hope of once more 
presiding over the Commons, the choice of the House 
fell upon Mr. Henry Powle, the son of Henry Powle, of 
Shottesbrooke, and member for the royal borough of 
Windsor. Powle had identified himself with the opponents 
of the Court in the reign of Charles II, and was more 
than suspected of having been in the pay of Barillon ; 
but his tact and discretion caused him to become the 
trusted adviser of William, who, on the first convenient 
opportunity, conferred on him the Mastership of the 

" I will not invade prerogative, neither will I consent 
to the infringement of the least liberty of my country," 


were the proud words in which he sought to define his 
ParUamentary position ; but the proudest day of his hfe 
was when, on 13 February, 1688-89, he stood at the head 
of the assembled Commons in the Banqueting House at 
Whitehall, Lord Halifax, the Speaker of the Lords, and 
the peers facing him, and heard the Declaration of Right 
asserted prior to the tender of the crown to William. 
In the magnificent procession which paraded the streets 
of London to proclaim the King and Queen, the Speaker 
in his coach took precedence even of the Earl Marshal 
and others of the great nobility. At the dissolution Powle 
lost his seat on petition and returned to the administra- 
tion of justice at the Rolls, maintaining his wonted in- 
dependence when he refused to attend the Lords at their 
pleasure, declaring that he was an assistant to, but not 
an attendant upon, the Upper House. He did not live 
to see Trevor's expulsion from the Chair, having died at 
Quenington, in Gloucestershire, in 1692. On his tombstone 
is inscribed the following epitaph, possibly, according 
to the practice of the times, his own composition : — 

" Regi et regno fidelissimus, 
Aequi rectique arbiter integerrimus, 
Pius, probus, temperans, prudens, 
Virtutum. omnium 
Exemplar magnum." 

The next Speaker after Trevor's fall was a man of an 
altogether different mould and of a different pohtical com- 
plexion. The rise of his family was somewhat singular. 
Richard Foley, and his son Thomas after him, made a for- 
tune in Stourbridge by selling nails. Thomas Foley bought 
Witley, in Worcestershire, for his eldest son, and Stoke 
Edith, the old home of the Lingens, for his second son, 



From a print 


Paul. In 1679 Paul Foley became member for the city of 
Hereford, but, though a Tory, he was not a courtier, and he 
supported the Revolution of 1688-89. Only a year before 
his elevation to the Chair he showed his independent 
spirit, in Grand Committee on the state of the nation, and 
used remarkably plain language in stating his personal 
opinionson the King's veto. " I believe," he said, " the 
King hath a negative voice, and it is necessary that it 
should be so. But if this be made use of to turn by all 
bills and things the Court likes not, it is misused ; for 
such a prerogative is committed to him for the good 
of us all." 1 Roger North called him " a factious lawyer, 
very busy in ferreting out musty old repositories," which 
was another way of stating that he had a great know- 
ledge of precedents. North was also responsible for 
the cryptic utterance attributed to Foley, that — " Things 
would never go well in England tiU forty heads flew 
for it." In 1695 he was put into the Speaker's chair 
in opposition to Sir Thomas Littleton, the nominee 
of the Court, and there he remained till within a year 
of his death. Foley has been styled the first non-partisan 
Speaker, and, though this is not a strictly accurate 
description, his tenure of the office undoubtedly marks a 
stage in the evolution of the office. 

Paul Foley, hke Speaker Phelips, was a mighty builder 
in his day. Stoke Edith, one of the best-proportioned 
country houses in England, a thoughtful mingling of 
brick and stone, was in part designed by Wren, who 
appears to have been consulted on most of the im- 
portant houses built at the close of the seventeenth 
century. The harmony and proportion of Foley's house 

1 Porritt's Unreformed House of Commons, 1903, Vol. I, p. 444- 


were somewhat marred by alterations carried out by the 
brothers Adam, when the windows were taken out and 
replaced by others less suitable to the original design. 
Sir James Thomhill, who was entrusted with the 
decoration of the great hall, introduced an allegorical 
figure of constitutional liberty, with Foley's own por- 
trait in a contemplative attitude.^ 

On the occasion of Foley's first election to the Chair, 
Sir Thomas Littleton, the candidate of the Whigs, was 
defeated by 179 votes to 146 ; but in 1698, after his 
rival's retirement, having been again put forward by the 
Junto, he was chosen Speaker in WiUiam's third Pariia- 
ment by a large majority. Shortly before the meeting 
of the new House in December, 1698, a curious pamphlet. 
Considerations upon the Choice of a Speaker of the House 
of Commons in the Approaching Session, was published 
by the Tories with a view to excluding Littleton. His 
appointment, like Sir Edward Seymour's, was a reaction 
from the custom of promoting lawyers, the House once 
more preferring to have a country gentleman to preside 
over their deliberations. 

Sir Thomas Littleton, who was the youngest son of a 
poor baronet, had, however, served an apprenticeship 
to trade, having been trained in business habits from 
his youth. He is said to have been recommended to 
WilHam III by the Duke of Shrewsbury, the " favourite 

* Paul Foley was the ancestor of the present Lord Foley. He 
married Mary, daughter of John Lane, an alderman of the City of 
London, and dying on ii November, 1699, was buried at Stoke Edith. 
The Speaker's nephew was one of the twelve emergency peers created 
by Queen Anne in 1 7 1 2 to secure a Tory majority in the House of Lords. 
When they made their first appearance at Westminster, Lord Wharton 
ironically asked them if they desired to give their votes singly, or, as 
a jury, through their foreman. 


1694-95, 1695 
From a immature in the possession of 
Paul Henry Foley, Esq., at Stoke Edith 


of the nation," according to Swift, and a statesman whose 
biography deserves to be written at length. Although he 
had but one eye, his political vision was remarkably clear, 
and at critical moments in the Uves of both William III and 
Anne the Duke rendered invaluable service to the Crown. 
The sessions of 1698-99 and 1700 proved to be full of 
humihations for the Court. Though the ministry had 
succeeded in securing the election of a Whig Speaker, 
the new House of Commons contained a composite 
majority made up of avowed Tories and members who 
were opposed to a forward military policy. Charles 
Montagu, afterwards Earl of HaUfax, who must not be 
confounded with the celebrated Trimmer, had carried all 
before him in the last Parliament, but he now found 
himself powerless to guide or control the deUberations 
of the House. In addition to demanding the reduction 
of the Dutch guards, the Commons became inquisitive 
in the matter of royal grants, and proposed to appoint 
Commissioners to inquire into the manner in which the 
forfeited Irish lands had been conferred on William's 
personal favourites. In order to force their Bill through 
the House of Lords the Commons deliberately tacked it 
on to a Bill granting the Land Tax. And though WiUiam 
reluctantly gave his assent to the measure, rather than 
throw the Constitution into the melting-pot, he prorogued 
ParUament ^ without making a speech from the throne, 
and wrote to a friend : — 

" This has been the most dismal session I ever had. 
The members have separated in great disorder and after 
many extravagances. Unless one had been present, he 
could have no notion of their intrigues : one cannot 
even describe them." 

1 II April, 1700. 


Party government was still in its infancy in 1700, and 
the prolonged quarrel between the two Houses having 
engendered a dangerous spirit in the Commons, the way 
was paved for a better understanding between the King 
and the acknowledged leaders of the Tory party. Thus 
was established, almost unconsciously, the general prin- 
ciple, ever since accepted, that ministers who cannot 
command a majority in the House of Commons cannot 
cling to office without being discredited in the country. 

When his fourth ParUament was about to assemble 
in February, 1700-1, William intimated to Littleton, 
who lacked the physique necessary to the efficient per- 
formance of the duties of the Chair, his desire that he 
should give way to Harley, and, with the prompt com- 
pliance of a courtier, the late Speaker absented himself 
from the House on the day of meeting, to be rewarded 
with the valuable office of Treasurer of the Navy, a post 
which he retained till his death, unshaken by all the 
efforts made to remove him. On this occasion Harley 
was proposed by Sir Edward Seymour, the ex-Speaker 
of the Pensionary Parliament, but the House was by no 
means unanimous in his favour, 249 members voting for 
him and 129 against him. Bishop Burnet, who knew 
Littleton well, wrote of him earlier in his career : — 

" I happened in looking for a house to fall accident- 
ally on the next house to Sir Thomas Littleton, knowing 
nothing concerning him. But I soon found that he was 
one of the considerablest men in the nation. He was at 
the head of the opposition that was made to the Court, 
and living constantly in town, he was exactly informed 
of all that passed. He came to have an entire confidence 
in me, so that for six years together we were seldom two 
days without spending some hours together. I was by 


IK THOMAS i.rrri.i-', ION 

Frotii It /'>-/ nt 


this means let into all their secrets, and indeed without 
the assistance I had from him I could never have seen 
so clearly into affairs as I did. We argued all the matters 
that he perceived were to be moved in the House of 
Commons till he thought he was a master of all that 
could be said on the subject, and it was observed of him 
that in all debates in the House of Commons he reserved 
himself to the conclusion, and what he spoke commonly 
determined the matter." 

Burnet and Littleton were living at the time referred 
to — the latter end of the reign of Charles II — near the 
Plough Inn, which was on the south side of Carey Street, 
Lincoln's Inn Fields, and convenient to the Rolls Chapel, 
where Burnet was then preacher. Manning gives a 
slightly different version of Burnet's estimate of the 
Speaker.^ Burnet, however, was wrong in saying that 
Littleton was the first Speaker who had not been 
brought up in the profession of the law. Littleton 
had a profound antipathy to the members of the 
long robe in Parliament, and in the debates upon the 
Bill for allowing counsel to prisoners in cases of high 
treason, and the impeachment of Sir John Fenwick, who 
had asked for further time to produce witnesses, he argued, 
as a private member, as follows : — 

" Here ye shall have cunning lawyers defending an im- 
peachment. I hope I shall not degrade your members 
to argue against lawyers ; but when an impeachment is 
by gentlemen of his own quality, I think a cause is as 
well tried without counsel, and I would disagree with 
the Lords." He further observed, in the same contemp- 
tuous strain : " It may be the counsel have a mind to 
another fee." 

' Supplement to the History of My Own Time, edited by Miss 
Foxcroft, 1902, p. 485. 


He was a stout party man, and from his place in the 
House he declared that the principle which ever guided his 
vote was the party from whom the proposition emanated. 
" For my part, I have a way how to guide my vote 
always in the House, which is to vote contrary to what 
our enemies without doors wish." Such slavish adher- 
ence to party ties carries joy to the heart of the party 
whips, who dislike above everything the " independent " 
member, who watches the opportunity to snatch a momen- 
tary notoriety by stabbing his own side in the back. 

Littleton was again put forward for the Chair on 
December 30, 1701, when 212 members voted in his 
favour and 216 against him, the closest contest on record. 
Harley was then re-elected without further opposition. 
Like Sir Thomas More and " tough old Coke," Harley's 
principal triumphs were achieved in other spheres than 
that of the Chair of the Commons, so that it is unneces- 
sary to dwell at any length upon the career of this 
nimblest of politicians. Belauded by Pope and beloved 
of Swift, this brilliant statesman may be said to have 
embarked on a ministerial career whilst stiU Speaker of 
the Commons, for he was Secretary of State for the 
Northern Department for some months before he quitted 
the Chair for the third and last time. 

By birth and education a Whig, by imperceptible 
stages he developed into the leader of the Tory and 
Church party. On becoming Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer, ^ he virtually filled the position of Prime Minister, 
and when, at the general election of 1710, the Tory party 
had a large majority at the poUs he was all but supreme. 
In King William's time, when he had only ^^500 a year, 

• In 1710. 


170O-I, I70I, 1702 

From a painting in the National Portrait Gallery 


he is said to have spent half this sum in employing clerks 
to copy out for him treaties and official papers, so that 
members were almost afraid to speak before him. His 
enemies said that he had spies and inspectors in every 
public office. In contrast to his great rival Bolingbroke, 
who fascinated the House as much by his handsome 
appearance as by his neatly turned speeches, Harley's 
physical proportions were unimposing ; his features 
were homely, and there was little that was impressive in 
his voice or carriage. " Can it be true," said M. Le Sac, 
a celebrated mattre de danse, " that Mr. Harley has been 
made an Earl and Lord Treasurer ? I wonder what the 
devil the Queen can see in him ! He was a pupil of mine 
for two years, and a greater dunce I never taught." 

In 1701 he was elected Speaker by 120 votes over Sir 
Richard Onslow ; on the second occasion he only beat 
Sir Thomas Littleton by four ; and in 1702 there is no 
mention in the Journals of his re-election, the Clerks of 
the House having neglected to minute the proceedings 
of the first two days of the session. Harley is said 
to have been the inventor of the newspaper press as an 
engine of party warfare, and, apart from his pohtical 
eminence, he deserves to be gratefully remembered for 
the literary taste displayed in the formation of the 
splendid library, of which the MS. portion is now in the 
British Museum, it having been acquired for the nation 
for the small sum of £10,000. 

On the meeting of Queen Anne's second Parliament, 
which became the first Parliament of Great Britain by 
Proclamation dated 29 April, 1707, there was a furious 
party contest for the Chair. The Tory candidate was 
Mr. William Bromley, of Baginton, who was to have 


his revenge later on, and the chosen of the Whigs was 
plain Mr. John Smith, M.P. for Andover, who carried the 
day by 248 votes to 205. Mr. Smith came of a respectable 
Hampshire family, and previous to his elevation to the 
Chair he had acted as a party whip. His close friendship 
with Godolphin also stood him in good stead. 

The Scotch members sat at Westminster for the first 
time on 23 October, 1707, and when the ministerial 
crisis which drove Harley from office early in the next 
year necessitated a reconstitution of the ministry, the 
Chancellorship of the Exchequer was conferred upon the 
Speaker. Mr. Smith only held the post for two years, 
and, though he remained a member of the House until 
his death in 1723, his subsequent career was uneventful. 
He subsided into the less influential but more lucrative 
sinecure of a Tellership of the Exchequer. On one occa- 
sion he was indiscreet enough to inform the House that 
the debts of the Civil List, then stated to be £400,000, 
had not amounted to half that sum two months before 
the estimates were made. The deficiency had apparently 
arisen from excessive disbursements on account of secret 
service. Swift had a thrust at the ex-Speaker when he 
wrote in the Invitation to Dismal — 

" Wine can clear up Godolphin's cloudy face 
And fill Jack Smith with hopes to keep his place." 

And keep it he did, until the accession of George I 
dispelled all danger of removal. As an orthodox Whig, 
he supported Walpole in opposition to the Stanhope 
Administration, and one of his last public utterances was 
on a curious motion to close the House of Lords against 
Commoners for the future.^ 

1 Speaker Smith's portrait is in the Speaker's collection at West- 
minster, and his family is represented at the present day by Mr. Assheton 
Smith, of Vaynol, near Bangor. 


1705, 1707 
From a drawing in the National Portrait Gallery 


Anne's third Parliament was presided over by Sir 
Richard Onslow, a descendant of the man of the same 
name who was Speaker in 1566. The portrait of the 
Speaker of 1708-10 has been drawn by the infinitely 
greater Arthur Onslow, the third of the family to fill the 

" TaU and very thin, not well shaped, and with a face 
exceeding plain, yet there was a certain sweetness with 
a dignity in his countenance, and so much of life and 
spirit in it, that no one who saw him ever thought him 
of a disagreeable aspect. His carriage was universally 
obliging, and he was of the most winning behaviour that 
ever I saw. There was an ease and openness in his ad- 
dress, that even at first sight gave him the heart of every 
man he spoke to. He had always something to say that 
was agreeable to everybody, and used to take as much 
pleasure in telling a story to a man's advantage, as others 
generally do to the contrary. It was this temper that 
made him so fit for reconciling differences between angry 
people, an office he frequently and readily undertook 
and seldom failed of succeeding in." ^ 

So far it might be thought that Sir Richard possessed 
every qualification for the post, but less partial judges 
perceived in " stiff Dick," as he was irreverently called 
by the Tories, an unfortunate propensity to quarrel- 
someness which led him on more than one occasion 
to challenge a fellow-member to a duel. He fought 
Mr. Oglethorpe, a young man of twenty-two, for some- 
thing he had said in the course of a debate, and he was 
only restrained by an order of the House from prose- 
cuting another affair of honour with Sir E. Seymour, 

• Historical Manuscripts Commission Report on the MSS. of the 
Earl of Onslow. 


At the time of his election many would have preferred 
Sir Peter King, who, missing the Chair, attained the 
Woolsack in the next reign. 

Paul Jodrell, the Clerk of the House, was also suggested 
as being the most competent adviser in matters of pre- 
cedent and procedure, much as the late Sir Thomas 
Erskine May's name was put forward in recent years as 
the greatest authority on Parliamentary history and the 
mainstay of every Speaker with whom he acted. " Stiff 
Dick " found himself in the uncomfortable position of 
being confronted with no less than three ex-Speakers, 
two of them sitting, comparatively negligible quanti- 
ties, on the ministerial benches — Littleton and Smith, 
and the redoubtable Harley on the Opposition side. 
Lord Shaftesbury, writing in November, 1708, when 
Onslow was quite new to the Chair, said : " The late 
Speaker beset the old one ; and he wiU have, I fear, a 
hard task, if this be not an easy session." 

Whatever his shortcomings, Richard Onslow ingra- 
tiated himself at Court. King WiUiam shortly before 
his death called him into his closet and " bade him con- 
tinue the honest man he had always found him." Anne 
made him a Privy Councillor. ^ George I made him 
Chancellor of the Exchequer and a peer, and on his 
resigning the Chancellorship he succeeded in getting 
himself made Teller of the Exchequer for life, the first 
instance of that appointment being conferred for that 
period. His manner in the Chair was somewhat imperious. 
When the House went up to the Lords to demand judg- 
ment against Dr. Sacheverell, every complaint took the 

* Said to be the last favour which Lord Godolphin ever procured 
from the Queen. 



Frovt a paintmg in the Speaker s House 


form of a threat : " My Lords, if you do not immediately 
order your Black Rod to " do this or that, " I will return 
to the House of Commons at once." 

With the return of Harley to of&ce at the head of 
a solid Tory majority, and a Parliament strongly 
attached to the Church, Mr. William Bromley, who 
had been disappointed of the Chair on a previous 
occasion, was unanimously chosen on 25 November, 
1710.^ A perfect type of the English country gentleman, 
Bromley was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, and at 
the time of his election to the Chair he represented the 
University. After taking his degree he made the tour 
of the Continent and published an account of his travels. 
The title-page shows that he considered printing an act 
of condescension i^ " Remarks on the Grand Tour of 
France and Italy lately performed by a person of quality, 
1692." In the Doge's Palace at Genoa he observed with 
approval " an excellent method for freedom in voting," 
and was in advance of his time and party in commend- 
ing the ballot boxes which rendered it " impossible the 
suffrage of any particular person should be known." 
From Genoa he proceeded to Rome, where he was re- 
ceived in audience by the Pope. " In the evening I was 
admitted to the honour of kissing the Pope's shpper, 
who, though he knew me to be a Protestant, gave me 
his blessing, and, like a wise man, said nothing about 

He was sceptical as to the genuineness of the Sancta 
Scala at St. John Lateran, and was relieved to hear from 

1 For his speech on taking office see Beyer's Political State of 

' Townsend, Memoirs of the House of Commons, 1844, second 
edition, p. 178. 


one of the cardinals that they were not the actual stairs 
ascended by the Saviour, but as they were generally 
considered to be so it was not thought advisable to un- 
deceive the devout. From Rome he went to Florence. 
He was delighted to see the portraits of King Charles 
and King James, but he would not permit himself 
to speak of King William, except as the " Prince of 

His political opponents professed to believe that he 
must be a Papist and Jacobite at heart, on account of 
his having kissed the Pope's toe ; and, in consequence 
of the derision cast by the Whigs on the casual impres- 
sions of a fairly intelligent traveller, he withdrew from 
circulation such copies as remained in the bookseller's 
hands. A second edition appeared, without Bromley's 
permission, just at the time when he was first proposed 
for the Chair. To this was added a fictitious table of 
contents, attributed, though we believe erroneously, to 
Walpole, turning Bromley's observations into ridicule. ^ 

During his Speakership his house at Baginton, in 
Warwickshire, was burnt to the ground, and the story goes 
that he was informed of the catastrophe whilst sitting 
in the Chair, the news having been brought to town by 
special messenger. Very calmly, and without quitting 
the Chair, he is said to have given directions for the 
immediate rebuilding of his ruined home. This was done, 
and Queen Anne came to see it and planted a cedar in 
the garden. On the new house the inscription " Phoenix 
Resurgens " was placed, but none the less it was burnt 
down again in 1889, and nothing now remains of it but 

^ Both these little books are now rare and there is no copy of either 
of them in the library of the House. 




From a firint 


the outside walls with the inscription, which has not yet 
been made good. 

That Bromley was held in esteem by the House at 
large is apparent from its having adjourned for six whole 
days on the occasion of the death of his only son, " out 
of respect to the father and to give him time both to 
perform the funeral rites and to indulge his just affliction." 
He was offered, and accepted, a seat in the Govern- 
ment before the dissolution of August, 1713, and on 
quitting the Chair for the Treasury Bench he became 
the recognised leader of the Tory party in the House of 
Commons. At Harley's instigation he wrote to Sir 
Thomas Hanmer, asking him to allow himself to be 
nominated for the Chair in the new Parliament. Having 
secured his main object, he sought to ensure the re- 
election of his chaplain. Dr. Pelham. The manoeuvre 
was not successful, and history does not record whether 
another and minor request weighed with his successor. 
Dating from Whitehall, 22 September, 1710, Bromley 
had written to Hanmer : — 

" You'll smile at the transition from chaplain to coach 
horses. I have a pair that drew my great coach, and 
beheve you cannot be better fitted, and I offer them to 
you before I dispose of them. One especially is a very 
fine horse, and better than sixteen hands high. You 
shall have him or them on reasonable terms." 

With the death of Queen Anne Mr. Bromley's official 
career practically came to a close. To the end of his Ufe 
he came out on Parhamentary field days with a set 
oration against the Whigs, emphatically denouncing such 
evils as Hanoverian aUiances, the maintenance of a stand- 
ing army, and the Septennial Act. He died at Baginton, 


in the summer of 1732, in his sixty-ninth year, " a not un- 
favourable specimen of the Tory squire in poUtics, having 
sat in twelve Parliaments and under four Sovereigns." 
His library was fortunately saved from the fire in 1889, 
as was the fine service of plate used by him as Speaker. 
There is a portrait of him at Westminster, and another 
in the possession of his descendant, Mr. WilUam Bromley- 
Davenport, late M.P. for Macclesfield. 

The last Speaker of Queen Anne's reign was Sir 
Thomas Hanmer, the Shakespearean commentator, and 
the head of a family which had been settled in the 
Welsh marches since the reign of Henry III. At 
the early age of twenty-one he married the widowed 
Duchess of Grafton, who had been first wedded to one 
of Charles II's illegitimate sons at the tender age of 
twelve. Educated at Westminster and Christ Church, 
Oxford, he entered the House of Commons as member 
for Thetford, where the Grafton interest was no doubt 
paramount, and took up his abode in Pall Mall at a 
house on the south side of the street. He soon made 
his mark in debate, and in a letter of Lord Berkeley of 
Stratton, written in 1712, he was said to " outshine all 
in the House." 

In the course of the next year Swift, who, it was 
rumoured, occasionally helped him in the composition of 
his speeches, confided to Stella the opinion that " he was 
the most considerable man in the House of Commons." 
Though of generally Tory prochvities, he was looked 
upon as somewhat of a waverer about this time, and, 
after he had refused office under Harley, from a growing 
distrust of his policy, that astute minister desired to 
relegate him to the Chair, where he thought that he 


would be more safely occupied than in playing the role 
of a Parliamentary free-lance. But before this could be 
contrived the debates on the Commercial Treaty with 
France, arising out of the eighth and ninth Articles of the 
ill-starred Treaty of Utrecht, gave Hanmer the chance 
of his life. 

The Articles were the work of Bolingbroke even more 
than of Harley, and were designed in the interests of 
free trade with France, at the expense of Spain, Portugal, 
and Italy. They proposed concessions in the importa- 
tion of French wines to the certain injury of the Portu- 
guese trade ; whilst the silk and woollen manufactures 
of France were to enter England free. A revolt of 
English manufacturers and traders at once took place, 
and the cry of " Treat the foreigner as he treats us ! " 
was immediately raised. Petitions against the Treaty 
poured in, and for a month nothing else was talked of 
in London. This was the age of pamphlets, and pubUc 
interest in the subject was stimulated and inflamed by 
the appearance of two rival periodicals, one. The Mer- 
cator, or Commerce Retrieved, written by Daniel Defoe, 
upholding the free trade clauses of the Treaty ; and 
the other. The British Merchant, or Commerce Preserved, 
(said to have been written by General Stanhope who led 
the opposition in the House of Commons), which was 
strongly in favour of a protective tariff. A tariff reform 
debate in the reign of Queen Anne may seem something 
of an anomaly to modern readers, but the strenuous 
party fight which took place on 14 May, prior to the 
introduction of the Government Bill to make the Articles 
effectual, raised the whole question of free imports and 
the imposition of a commercial tariff with France. 


General Stanhope quoted the preamble of an earlier 
tariff concluded between Louis XIV and Charles II in 
1664, which declared : — 

" That it has been found by long experience that the 
importing of French wines, brandy, linen, salt and paper, 
and other commodities of the growth, product, and manu- 
factures of the territories and dominions of the French 
King, has much exhausted the treasure of this nation, 
lessened the value of the native commodities and manu- 
factures thereof, and caused great detriment to the 
Kingdom in general." 

At this point Speaker Bromley interposed, saying 
" that there was no such thing in that Act," but, being 
found to be mistaken after the Clerk of the House had 
read the original words. General Stanhope was allowed 
to proceed with his arguments, to show the disadvantages 
of an open trade with France. ^ When the Bill went 
into Committee it occupied the House for five whole 
days, and Hanmer, who had originally favoured the 
scheme of the Government, made an elaborate speech 
against it. He said that though he had given his vote 
for the bringing in of the Bill, having in the interval 
weighed and considered the allegations of the petition- 
ing merchants and traders, he had been convinced that 
the passing of the Bill would inflict great prejudice to 
the home woollen and silk manufactures, increase the 
number of the poor, and ultimately affect the land. 

" WhUe he had the honour to sit in the House he 
would never be blindly led by any ministry ; neither, 

' Boyer says, in relating this incident, " He " (General Stanhope) 
" and some other members animadverted with some vehemence on the 
Speaker's mistake." {Political State of Great Britain, Vol. V, p. 370.) 


on the other hand, was he biased by what might weigh 
with some men, viz. the fear of losing their elections. 
The principles upon which he acted were the interests 
of his country and the conviction of his judgment, and 
upon those considerations alone he must oppose the 

This speech made a great impression upon the House, 
and when the division was taken, " near eleven at night 
and after candles had been brought in," the Government 
was defeated by the narrow majority of nine, and the 
Bill was killed. Only one of the four members for the 
City of London voted for it ; the other three and 
the members for Westminster voted for its rejection. 
The London drapers, mercers, and weavers were over- 
joyed at the result, and Hanmer became for a time a 
popular idol. Bonfires and illuminations expressed the 
general satisfaction on the news becoming known. ^ The 
coolness which ensued between Sir Thomas Hanmer 
and the ministry was temporarily patched up when he 
consented to take the Chair in the new Parliament. The 
precarious session of 1714, when the chances of the 
Stuart and the Hanoverian d3aiasties were nearly equally 
balanced, gave the Speaker an opportunity of testifying 
to his regard for the Protestant succession. 

The country party declared that this was in danger 
under Her Majesty's Government, and when ministers 
attempted to shelve an inconvenient topic by moving the 

1 A very interesting letter from the Tory point of view, describing 
the preliminary debate in the House on 14 May, will be found in the 
Wentworth correspondence, pp. 234, 235. Peter Wentworth, writing 
to his brother, Lord Strafford, who had negotiated the Treaty of 
Utrecht, states that he was an attentive listener to the debate from 
one o'clock till ten at night. 


previous question, the Speaker, speaking in Committee 
of the whole House, baffled the attempt in a remarkable 
speech, in which he said that " he was sorry to see that 
endeavours were used to stop their mouths, but he was 
of opinion that this was the proper, and perhaps the only, 
time for patriots to speak ; that though, for his own part, 
he had all the honour and respect imaginable for Her 
Majesty's ministers, he felt that he owed more to his 
country than to any minister ; that, in the debate, so 
much had been said to prove that the succession was in 
danger, and so little to make out the contrary, that he 
could not but believe the first." Henceforth he became 
the recognised leader of the Hanoverian Tories, or, as 
they were nicknamed, the Whimsicals. With the death 
of George I the last chance of the restoration of his 
friends to political power disappeared, and Hanmer 
withdrew from public life to pursue his Shakespearean 

1 As recently as July, 1907, Speaker Hanmer's plate was brought 
to the hammer at Christie's, when it realised high prices. 

/ Allen, dele. II'. Bond, sculpt. 


Fro3}i a/>rznt 



George I — 

Spencer Compton 
George II — 

Arthur Onslow 

George III — 

John Cust 

Fletcher Norton 

Charles Wolfran Corn- 

William Wyndham 

George IV — 

Henry Addington 
John Mitford 


Charles Abbot 
Charles Manners-Sutton 

William IV — 

James Abercromby 

Victoria — 

Charles Shaw-Lefevre 
John Evelyn Denison 
Henry Bouverie Wil- 
liam Brand 
Arthur Wellesley Peel 
William Court Gully 

Edward VII and George V — 
James William Lowther 

WITH the accession of George I and the rout 
of the Tory party the Speakership acquired 
a permanent character hitherto unknown 
in its annals. Whilst the House of Lords 
was the most compact body in the State, Sir Robert 
Walpole, after 1721, taught the nation to look upon the 
House of Commons as the real seat of power in the legis- 
lature, with the result that a corresponding increase took 



place in the importance and dignity of the Speaker's 
office. No longer to be regarded as a stepping-stone 
to rapid legal preferment, the Chair in the early days 
of the eighteenth century was filled more often than not 
by men with little or no legal training. It has been 
shown that in the Middle Ages instances occurred in 
which a Speaker was re-elected on three, four, and even 
five occasions ; but when the House of Commons knew 
but one president during an entire reign (and history 
repeated itself under George II), new records of long 
service in the Chair were established which have never 
since been surpassed or even equalled. 

Ah aristocrat by birth. Sir Spencer Compton, the third 
son of the Earl of Northampton, came of a good Tory 
stock, but in early life he deserted to the Whigs. This 
"most solemn, formal man in the world," according 
to Horace Walpole, entered the House as member for 
Eye in 1698, became Speaker in March, 1715, was re- 
elected in 1722 (from which date he combined the then 
lucrative office of Paymaster-General with the duties of 
the Chair), and was raised to the Peerage as Lord Wil- 
mington on the accession of George II. The new King 
wished to make him his Prime Minister, but Walpole 
having promised the Queen £100,000 a year from Parlia- 
ment, whereas Wilmington had only ventured to propose 
£60,000, the arrangement fell through. But on Walpole's 
fall and nominal replacement in 1742, he achieved his 
heart's desire and became First Lord of the Treasury. 

Though not a strong Speaker, Compton could on occa- 
sion administer sharp reproof. When a member once 
called upon him to make the House quiet, declaring that 
he had a right to be heard, he answered, " No, sir, you 

G. Kneller, putxt 

/, Faber, sculpt. /,-J 

I714-5, 1722 
From a print 


have a right to speak, but the House has a right to judge 

whether it will hear you." ^ Though often called Prime 

Minister, he was never so in the sense that Walpole was. 

Carteret, who is said to have been the only peer of 

Cabinet rank who could talk to the first two Georges in 

their native tongue, was the chief minister. In this 

connection it will be remembered that the late Mr, 

W. H. Smith, when leader of the House, was First Lord 

of the Treasury, though never Prime Minister. Lord 

Wilmington seems to have excited in an uncommon 

degree the mirth and ridicule of the wits of the day. 

Sir Charles Hanbury Williams, in his " New Ode to a 

great number of great men newly made," wrote : — 

" See yon old, dull important Lord 
Who at the longed-for money board 
Sits first, but does not lead." 

And Lord Hervey, the " Sporus " of Pope, said of him : — 

" Let Wilmington, with grave contracted brow. 
Red tape and wisdom at the Council show. 
Sleep in the Senate, in the circle bow." 

The " Broad-bottomed Administration," a remarkably 
aristocratic body, seeing that there were five Dukes, a 
Marquis, and an Earl in it, replaced Lord Carteret's, and 
was itself upset on Pelham's death. An arch-mediocrity 
in office. Lord Wilmington could make an effective speech 
on ceremonial occasions, and a jest of his on the Duke 
of Newcastle deserves to be remembered as much as the 
gibes of his political opponents : " The Duke always 
loses half an hour in the morning, which he is running 
after the rest of the day, without being able to overtake 
it." During the whole of his official career this " transient, 

^ Hatsell's Precedents of Proceedings in the House of Commons, 1818, 
Vol. II, p. 108. 


embarrassed phantom " lived in St. James's Square, at 
a house erroneously supposed to have been Nell Gwynne's, 
and now merged in the Army and Navy Club. It 
had originally been built for Moll Davis, a yoimg 
actress and dancer, whose professional career presented 
many similar features to Nelly's own. Naive and flippant 
on the stage, what she lacked in beauty she made up for 
in agility, and her antics on the stage made the pulse of 
Pepys beat quicker as he sat in the pit of Old Drury 
marking time with his foot as he applauded the measure. 
Lord Wilmington inherited the house from his mother, 
Mary, Countess of Northampton. Its last occupier was 
Lord De Mauley, until it was pulled down to make way 
for the Army and Navy Club. 

The Speaker's next-door neighbour in the Square, at 
No. 21, was " Beau Colyear," Lord Portmore, who 
married James II's ugly mistress, Katherine Sidley ; and 
before he came there Arabella Churchill, another of 
James's favourites, lived in the house. Lord Portmore 
was a great patron of horse-racing, even before the foun- 
dation of the Jockey Club in the middle of the eighteenth 
century. Lord Wilmington died in July, 1743, and was 
buried at Compton Wjmyates, Warwickshire, one of the 
most charming country houses in the Midlands. Having 
never been married, his titles became extinct, ^d his 
estates passed to his brother, from whom the present 
Marquis of Northampton is descended. There is a good 
portrait of Speaker Compton, by Sir Peter Lely, at 

Throughout the whole of the next reign, during Wal- 
pole's last administration and those of Lord Carteret, 


1727-8, 1734-5. I74I. 1747. 1754 
From It painting possibly i>y Hysing in the National Portrait Gallery 


the Pelhams, the Duke of Newcastle, the elder Pitt, and 
the Coalition Ministry of 1757, the Chair was filled, in 
five successive Parliaments, by the great Arthur Onslow, 
the third of his family to be so honoured, and unquestion- 
ably one of the most distinguished Speakers the House 
has ever known. As from 1720 to 1727 he represented 
Guildford, and from 1728 to 1761 the county of Surrey, 
in the Whig interest, at the time of his retirement in 
the latter year there can have been very few members 
of the House who sat in it when he was first called to the 

The story goes that having in early life conceived a 
great desire to become Speaker, Sir Robert Walpole 
wrote reminding him that " the road to that station lay 
through the gates of St. James's " ; but whether or not 
Onslow owed his selection to the direct interest of the 
Crown, no better choice could have been made. He 
was first returned for Guildford at a bye-election, and in 
the course of the same year, 1720, he married. He em- 
braced, as a matter of course, the orthodox Whig creed, 
which professed to regard the passing of the Septennial 
Act as coincident with a Constitutional millennium. 

This measure, although often threatened with radical 
curtailment of its provisions, still sets a convenient Umit 
to the activities of a Parhament, and when Onslow made 
his appearance at Westminster this great constitutional 
landmark had not outrun its first allotted term. 

The ideal Speaker, that was to be, chose for his London 
home a modest dwelling in Leicester Street, a narrow 
thoroughfare converging, at its upper end, upon Lisle 
Street. Despite its proximity to the abode of Royalty 
(in the person of the Prince of Wales at Leicester House, 


where the Empire Theatre now stands), it can never 
have been a very cheerful situation, and, at the present 
day, having been long since deserted by private residents 
of any and every rank in life, it is a singularly un- 
attractive row of business premises. Probably no district 
in the West End has so changed for the worse, from the 
residential point of view, as the once fashionable Leicester 
Fields, to give it the name usually attributed to it in the 
reign of the first and second George. 

Yet Onslow lived there for no less than thirty years, 
only quitting it in 1752 to take up his abode at the finest 
and largest house in Soho Square. No. 20 stands on the 
site of Old Falconbergh House, built at' the end of the 
seventeenth century by the head of the Bellasis family. 

It has a handsome facade in the Square (reproduced 
in this volume), and the London County Council would 
be well advised to place a memorial tablet on its walls, if 
only for the sake of an interesting link between the 
Commonwealth and the reign of George III. 

Mary, Lady Falconbergh, was Oliver Cromwell's 
daughter, and is said to have borne a striking resemblance 
to her father. Marrying in his lifetime, she did not die 
until 1713, so that Arthur Onslow might well have re- 
membered her. Sir Thomas Frankland and Mr. Anthony 
Buncombe also Hved at No. 20, Onslow's immediate 
predecessor there being the Lord Tylney for whom 
Colin Campbell, the author of Vitruvius Britannicus, 
built Wanstead House in the Essex marshes. 

In its original state Falconbergh House, to give it its 
earhest name, must have been well suited to the holding 
of the Speaker's levees, but the interior, with the excep- 
tion of one room on the first floor decorated with coats 


of arms and a highly enriched ceiUng, was practically 
gutted by Messrs. Crosse and Blackwell in adapting it to 
business purposes. The fine staircase and a quantity of 
tapestry were then removed, but the well-proportioned 
front fortunately escaped alteration. The Duke of Argyll 
and Lord Bradford were other occupiers after the Speaker, 
and, before it was consecrated to jam and pickles, this 
historic mansion was used for a time as D'Almaine's 
pianoforte showrooms. 

Next door, now No. 21 in the square and the comer 
house of Sutton Street, was the notorious '' White House." 
Some years after Onslow had left the neighbourhood it 
became a den of infamy unexampled in the annals of 
disreputable London, thus affording another instance 
of the vicissitudes which surround the former abodes of 
the most impeccable citizens. 

The positive identification of Speaker Onslow's house 
has only been arrived at after an exhaustive examination 
of the parochial rate-books. Much confusion has pre- 
vailed in the minds of even recent writers on Soho 
respecting the actual sites of houses in the square for- 
merly occupied by distinguished men. The statement 
that Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell and the Dutch 
adventurer Ripperda lived at No. 20 is as inaccurate 
as the one frequently put forward that Onslow's man- 
sion was one and the same with the " White House " 
of evil memory. As a matter of fact. Sir Cloudesley 
lived on the west side of the square and Ripperda on 
the north, in a house represented by Nos. 10 and ioa 
of the modem numbering. 

When first called to the Chair, Onslow confessed to 
feeling apprehensive at being raised to so dangerous 


a height, saying that greater men before him had tried 
their abihties in the same station and had found the 
eminence too high for them. He was then only thirty- 
six, a comparatively early age for a Speaker, and had 
sat in the House for rather less than eight years. When 
his re-election was proposed in 1747 he felt some com- 
punction at accepting a further term of office, telling 
the House that, " painful as the situation [of Speaker] is, 
at any time, and worn as I am, perhaps, with its labours, 
since honourable gentlemen seem inclined to try my 
poor abilities once more ... I do not think it decent in 
me to dispute their commands. I therefore resign myself 
to the judgment of the House, which has a right to dis- 
pose of me here in whatever manner it may think proper." 
And, pausing on the step of the Chair, he added, much 
after the manner of his immediate predecessors, " It 
is my duty to let honourable gentlemen know that, 
before I go any further, they have it in their power to 
call me back to the seat from whence I came, and to 
choose some other person to fill this place." 

And not until every member then present had cried 
out, " No, no," did he consent to preside over the de- 
liberations of the House for the fourth time. Onslow 
was the first in the long catalogue to realise the supreme 
importance of the independence and impartiality of the 
Chair. Whereas most of his predecessors had been 
pluralists or expectant office-holders, he raised the 
character of the Speakership by resigning the lucrative 
office of Treasurer of the Navy and contenting himself 
with the modest income derived from fees on private 
bills. Hatsell, who went to the Table of the House 
while Onslow was still in the Chair, wrote of him, in 


connection with the rules then obtaining, that the 
Speaker endeavoured to preserve order in debate with 
great strictness, yet always with civility and courtesy, 
saying that he had often heard, as a young man, from 
old and experienced members, that nothing tended more 
to throw power into the hands of the Administration 
than the neglect of or departure from these rules. That 
he, Onslow, was of opinion that they had been instituted 
by our ancestors as a check on the action of ministers, 
and as a protection to the minority against the arbitrary 
exercise of power. There can be little doubt that 
Speaker Onslow's rigid adherence to duty, and his 
detachment from political office, notwithstanding some 
divergence from his standard on the part of his imme- 
diate successors, paved the way for the wholly non- 
partisan Speaker evolved during the nineteenth century, 
and that the methods introduced by him have con- 
tributed to the shaping of the system of Party Govern- 
ment as understood at the present day. His demeanour 
in the Chair is said to have been firm but impartial, his 
voice clear and impressive, and his temper imperturbable. 
By way of contrast this grave and dignified man, when 
released from his official duties, would steal away from 
Westminster to enjoy his pipe and glass incognito in the 
chimney-corner of the "Jew's Harp," a famous tavern 
and bowling alley in Marylebone Fields, the site of which 
is now merged in the Regent's Park. As the great man 
was driving to the House of Commons one day in his 
state coach his identity was accidentally revealed to the 
landlord, who insisted, on the occasion of the Speaker's 
next visit, on treating him with the deference due 
to his exalted position. But his secret having been 


betrayed, Marylebone and its diversions knew the First 
Commoner no more. 

During the forty-one years which Arthur Onslow 
passed at Westminster he witnessed great changes, not 
only in the composition and in the manners of the 
House, but in the actual conditions of Parliamentary 
life. Speaker Onslow the third saw the development of 
the modern system of Cabinet Government coupled with 
ministerial responsibility to Parliament. He saw the 
elder Pitt make his first entrance on the Parliamentary 
stage, ^ and during the most glorious period of the great 
Commoner's career — those two short years in which 
Clive laid the foundations of our Indian Empire, and 
Wolfe, at the cost of his life, added Canada to the English 
dominions beyond the sea — he was stiU in the Chair. 
He witnessed the rise and fall of the Pelhams, and he 
lived to see Pitt temporarily supplanted by Lord Bute. 
He was also directly interested in a movement which 
has exercised enormous influence on the House of Com- 
mons and the management of parties — the rise of the 
power of the newspaper press. 

The Parliament of 1728 returned a large and docile 
majority for Walpole, and one of the first questions 
which agitated the minds of its members was the illicit 
reporting of the debates. A pubhsher, who had ex- 
tended and amplified the summaries of speeches given 
by Boyer^ since the reign of Queen Anne, was summoned 
to the Bar and imprisoned ; but still the practice grew. 
In the Gentleman's Magazine, which first appeared in 
1731, the reporting of the debates became a prominent 

1 As M.P. for Old Sarum, 1734-35. 

» In his monthly publication the Political State of Great Britain. 


feature, as it did in the London Magazine, wherein they 
were compiled by Gordon, the translator of Tacitus. 
When the next Parhament met the Speaker himself 
called the attention of the House to the subject, and in 
so doing allowed it to be seen that he was personally 
strongly opposed to the proceedings of the House being 
made public. Few historical writers have taken any 
notice of this debate. 

In, the course of an interesting discussion, in which 
Sir William Wyndham, Fulteney, and Sir Robert Walpole 
took part, the most sensible view was that taken by the 
leader of the Opposition. He, Wj^ndham, contended 
that the public had a right to know something more of 
the proceedings of the House than appeared in the votes. 
But the majority, who seem to have lived in dread of 
their constituents discovering what passed within the 
walls of St. Stephen's Chapel, declared that it was a 
high indignity and a notorious breach of privilege to 
print the debates at all. The official record of the day's 
proceedings runs as follows : — 

" Thursday, 13 April, 1738. 

" Privilege. A complaint being made to the House, 
That the Publishers of several written and printed News 
Letters and Papers had taken upon them to give accounts 
therein of the Proceedings of this House ; . . . 

" Resolved, That it is an high indignity to, and a 
notorious Breach of the Privilege of this House, for any 
News Writer, in Letters, or other Papers (as Minutes, or 
under any other Denomination), or for any Printer or 
Pubhsher of any printed News Paper, of any Denomi- 
nation, to presume to" insert in the said Letters or Papers, 
or to give therein any account of the Debates, or other 
Proceedings, of this House, or any Committee thereof. 


as well during the Recess as the Sitting of Parliament ; 
and that this House will proceed with the utmost severity 
against such offenders." ^ 

The account in Cobbett's Parliamentary History of the 
speeches delivered on this occasion is valuable from its 
containing an early reference to the custom of the Govern- 
ment and the Opposition sitting on opposite sides of the 
House. Some doubt has been expressed as to the date 
at which this practice was first introduced, but it is 
evident that in 1738 it was well established. Mr. Thomas 
Winnington, a member who was all in favour of drastic 
treatment of offending newspapers and magazines, alluded 
to his being in complete agreement with " the honour- 
able gentleman over the way." 

Sir Robert Walpole, in the course of his remarks on 
the supposed iniquities of the Press, declared that all 
the debates in which he had taken part which he had 
had an opportunity of reading in print were so garbled 
as to convey an entirely contrary meaning to that which 
he had intended. As to the charge frequently brought 
against him that he had instigated the publication of 
newspaper articles, in order to suit the policy of the 
Government, he only wished to say that, so far as he 
was able to judge, four pages were written against the 
Government for every one in its favour. 

" No Government, I will venture to say, ever punished 
so few Libels, and no Government ever had provocation 
to punish so many. For my own part, I am extremely 
indifferent what opinion some gentlemen may form of 
the writers in favour of the Government, but I shall 
never have the worse opinion of them for that ; there is 

* Commons Journals, Vol. XXIII, p. 148. 

From J^cdiaj 

'7iamr., ,,. , A'/awMi .'^a/-i('.,,i „y„'J,tn „,-,,, „.,/r,//A^: I '■'/i'. ''//«*''. ^,lUiim;, »/«/„«l-/<,^/,4< /v /'ui/^ /y Cn/'r 

'/l'.'/.' <//./, /./;./;'>' ,li„iv,y,/.> /''.i/.tf/'v 


■.dFouilliinu'rs Mn/> 


nothing more easy than to raise a laugh : it has been 
the common practice of all minorities, when they were 
driven out of every other argument." 

About this time a systematic attempt was first made 
to classify the members of both Houses according to 
their political convictions. Probably owing to an in- 
creasing interest on the part of the outside public 
in Parliamentary proceedings, the Court Kalendar for 
1732 specified the members who were protesters against 
the Hessian troops in 1730; and a rival pubHcation, 
The Court and City Register, in its issue for 1742, 
which was probably printed and circulated immediately 
after Walpole's defeat, divided the Kst of Peers into those 
who voted for and against the Cdnvention ; whilst those 
members of the Commons " who are supposed to be 
in the country interest at the creation of Robert, Earl 
of Orford," have their names marked with an asterisk. "■ 
By passing a drastic Resolution against the printing 
and publishing of its debates the House was only acting 
on the principle observed since the time of Elizabeth, 
when Hooker wrote : — 

" Every person of the Parliament ought to keep secret 
and not to disclose the secrets and things done and 
spoken in the Parliament House to any manner of person, 

1 These lists, of which those printed before 1740 are now very 
scarce, were probably first issued soon after the accession of George II. 
Watson's Court Kalendar for 1732, with a full list of both Houses of 
Parliament and the London addresses of the members, in the author's 
own collection, is the earliest hitherto met with. The British Museum 
Library contains the 1733 and many subsequent issues, and a fairly 
complete series of The Court and City Register from 1742 onwards. 
The better-known Royal Kalendar first appeared in 1767, and is still 
published annually. 


unless he be one of the same House, upon pain to be 
sequestered out of the House, or otherwise punished as 
by the order of the House shall be appointed." 

Notwithstanding the efforts of Sir Symonds D'Ewes and 
others to spread the light, and the journals kept by private 
members in the seventeenth century, our knowledge of 
the actual sayings and doings of Parliament from day 
to day remained extremely limited until the periodical 
magazine and the daily newspaper had come to stay. 
For a century after Speaker Onslow directed attention 
to the subject the unequal struggle between the Press and 
the Commons went on. Prosecutions, usually abortive, 
of offending newspapers and magazines were instituted 
from time to time, but the publications of Almon, 
Debrett, and Woodfall attained too much popularity 
with the outside world to be effectually suppressed. 
In 1771 the whole question was threshed out in the 
House, when the Press was so far successful that, from 
that date forward, the Commons tacitly acquiesced in 
the claim that the constituencies had a right to be in- 
formed of the proceedings of their Parliamentary repre- 

With the growth of the modern newspaper — ^both 
the Morning Post and The Times from their earhest 
issues have continued to supply a tolerably complete 
record of the speeches delivered in both Houses — came 
the shorthand reporters, who, as .Speaker Abbot noted in 
his diary, gained a footing in St. Stephen's as early as 1786. 
In 1803 they occupied the back bench in the Strangers' 
Gallery without molestation, though, by one of those 
curious anomalies which abound in connection with 
Parliamentary institutions, the Press had still no official 


recognition at Westminster. An earlier entry in the 
same diary shows the scant regard entertained for the 
newspaper press a century ago. Speaker Onslow 
could not have been more emphatic in his disapproval 
of what has been called the fourth estate of the 
realm : — 

" 19 December, 1798. Went to the Cockpit in the 
evening to hear the King's Speech. Two thirds of the 
room were filled with strangers and blackguard news- 

When, in 1836, the House of Commons began the 
publication of its own division lists (a reform which had 
been advocated by Burke in 1770) the battle was vir- 
tually won. The earliest instance known to the present 
writer of the publication of a division list, or something 
closely resembling one — a minority protest — was when 
the names of the members who voted against Strafford's 
attainder in May, 1641, were posted up outside West- 
minster Hall and headed : " These are the Straff ordians, 
Betrayers of their Country." 

The names of the Lords who voted against the occa- 
sional Conformity Bill in 1703 were published surrep- 
titiously, as were those who voted for Sacheverell's 
impeachment in 1710. From that time forth more or 
less accurate particulars of the more important divisions 
in both Houses, compiled in the first instance by Abel 
Boyer, are to be found in the volumes of Cobbett's 
Parliamentary History. It should be mentioned that 
before the adoption of the present system of taking 
divisions a trial had been made in 1834 of a very primi- 
tive plan by which the names were called out by a 


member in the House and another in the lobby outside, 
and recorded by the Clerks. 

After the great fire of 1834 reporters were admitted 
to the temporary building used by the Commons, and 
when, in 1852, the representatives of the people took 
possession of their new chamber in the Palace of West- 
minster,^ the Press was at last officially recognised, and the 
reporters' gallery, as it at present exists, was an acknow- 
ledged fact. So voluminous have the verbatim reports of 
speeches become, and so vivid the descriptions of "scenes" 
in the House within the last few years, that one is some- 
times tempted to wish that the penal regulations of the 
eighteenth century could once more be enforced ; for 
there is some reason to believe that there would be little 
or no obstruction of business if there were no picturesque 
reporting of the scenes to which obstruction gives rise. 
It is only fair to add that The Times has been an honour- 
able exception amongst its competitors in the purveying 
of sensational reports.^ 

During the long years in which Onslow ruled the House 
many improvements were introduced in the keeping of 
its official records, all of them tending to regularise and 
simplify its procedure. The Journals, which had for 
centuries been kept in a haphazard manner, according 
to the capacity or incapacity of the Clerk of the House 
for the time being, assumed a more intelHgible shape 
after 1750, in which year the Clerk of the Journals is 
first heard of. His office was from the first one of trust 

^ 3 February, 1852, after an experimental sitting in the spring of 

* The whole history of Parliamentary reporting has been ably 
summarised by Mr. Porritt in Chapter XXX of The Unreformed House 
of Commons, 1903, a work of consummate ability and vast research. 


and responsibility, and, as the House had no library of 
its own until early in the nineteenth century, he had the 
custody of all books and papers relating to the business 
of the House. He fulfilled, in addition to the compila- 
tion of the Journals, which have always been accepted 
as authoritative evidence in the courts of law, many of 
the duties which now appertain exclusively to the Libra- 
rian. It was owing to Speaker Onslow's exertions that 
the House, in 1742, first ordered its Journals to be 

On the recommendation of a Select Committee, 
Nicholas Hardinge, then Clerk of the House, entrusted 
the printing of the Manuscript Journals, from the com- 
mencement in 1547, to Samuel Richardson, printer and 
novelist, then in the first bloom of Pamela, or Virtue 
Rewarded, in " whose skill and integrity," as the Com- 
mittee reported, Mr. Hardinge could safely confide. They 
were printed in Roman letter upon " fine English Demy 
worth fifteen shillings a ream." By 1825, when another 
report was made to the House on the same subject, the 
outlay had reached a grand total of between £160,000 
and £170,000.1 

It is certain that Journal books of an earlier date than 
1547 were formerly in existence, as a statute passed in 
the sixth year of Henry VIII provided that members of 
Parliament who absented themselves without the licence 
of the Speaker and of the House, " entered of record in 
the book of the Clerk of the Parliament appointed for 
the Commons," should be deprived of their wages. 
Many instances could be cited of quaint entries made 

'■ Report of the Select Committee appointed to consider of printing 
the Journals of the House. (Commons Journals, Vol. XXIV, p. 262.) 


by the earlier Clerks of the House in its official Journals, 
but two must suffice : — 

" 31 May, 1604. Prohibitions Bill. During the argu- 
ment on this Bill a young Jack Daw flew into the House, 
called Malum Omen to the Bill." 

" 14 May, 1606, A strange spanyell of mouse colour 
came into the House." ^ 

The earliest issue of the printed Votes and Proceedings 
now in the Journal Office is that of 21 March, 1681 
(the Oxford Parliament). But the daily proceedings of 
the House had certainly been published prior to that 
date, and the author had in his own possession a single 
sheet of earlier date in the reign of Charles II. This 
solitary issue is, unfortunately, no longer in existence, 
it having been accidentally destroyed by fire some years 
ago. It was reserved for Sir Thomas Erskine May (Lord 
Farnborough) to compile a general index to the whole 
series of Journals from 1547 to the death of Queen Anne, 
an invaluable work of reference containing many thou- 
sands of cross references which, had he never written a 
line of his better-known Treatise on the Law and Practice 
of Parliament, would entitle him to rank amongst the 
very highest authorities on this complex subject. 

The form in which the Journals, which are elaborated 
each day from the shorter minutes known as the Votes 
and Proceedings (compiled in the first instance from 
the Minute Books kept by the Clerks at the table), are 
now produced and indexed leaves httle to be desired. 
Yet such was the slavish adherence to precedent 
which formerly characterised the compilation of these 

1 Commons Journals, Vol. I, pp. 229, 309. 

From a portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds in the possession of Mrs. Myddclton 


valuable records that not untU November, 1890, were 
the names of members moving amendments to questions 
inserted in their pages, although this convenient practice 
had been followed in the Votes at least as early as 1837, 
when Mr. Speaker Abercromby was in the Chair. In 
February, 1866, an alteration was made in the form of 
the printing of the Votes, whereby the Latin names of 
the days of the week were replaced by their English 

In 1750, when the Clerk of the Journals instituted 
a better method of preserving the official acts of the 
House, Jeremiah Dyson was Clerk of the House. He 
purchased the office in 1748, but he was the first to dis- 
continue the objectionable practice of selling the sub- 
ordinate clerkships to the highest bidder. Dyson left 
the service of the House to re-enter it as the Tory member 
for Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, after Onslow's retirement 
from the Chair. He became a Lord of the Treasury and 
a Privy Councillor, and, from his acknowledged authority 
on questions of Parliamentary procedure, he acquired the 
nickname of " Mungo " Dyson.^ 

Disorderly scenes were comparatively rare in the 
House of Commons in the middle of the eighteenth 
century, but in 175 1 the authority of the Speaker was 
defied by a Mr. Alexander Murray, brother to the Lord 
Elibank of that day, who was summoned to the bar to 
be reprimanded for riotous behaviour in Covent Garden 
during a recent Westminster election, and for threatening 
the high baihff in the execution of his duty. He is said to 

' The Lords still adhere to the use of Latin names of week days in 
their Journals. 

' The ubiquitous negro slave in Isaac Bickerstaffe's Padlock. 


have called repeatedly to his followers, " Will nobody 
kill the dog ? " and to have incited them to other acts of 

When Murray was brought to the bar he refused to 
kneel in obedience to the Speaker's order, whereupon 
the House marked its sense of his contumacy and the 
enormity of his original offence by committing him to 

There he caught gaol fever, and, after having dechned 
to avail himself of an offer for his transference to the 
milder custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms, he languished 
in durance vile until the prorogation brought with it his 
release. He then made a kind of triumphal progress 
through the streets of London, escorted to his home by 
a noisy mob, after which, like many another comet, 
blazing for a brief hour in the Parliamentary firmament, 
nothing more was heard of him. 

In this same year [1751] Arthur Onslow spoke, of 
course in Committee, in opposition to the clause in the 
Regency Bill establishing a Council. Horace Walpole 
thought his speech " noble and affecting," and it was 
also warmly praised by Bubb Dodington. The Speaker 
favoured the House with an historical retrospect of 
the question from the Regency of the Earl of Pembroke 
temp. Henry IH to the Hanoverian era, contending that, 
though the royal power might with advantage be limited, 
it could not be divided without grave injury to the State. 
The Bill, however, received the Royal Assent, at the close 
of the session, without material alteration.^ 

Onslow was a determined opponent of late sittings 

* Commons Journals, XXVI, p. 32, and Cobbett's Parliamentary 
History, Vol. XIV, p. 1017. 


and late hours of meeting, for which he was inclined 
to blame the Government of the day. 

" This," he wrote, " is shamefully grown of late, even 
to Two of the Clock. I have done all in my power to 
prevent it, and it has been one of the griefs and burdens 
of my life. It has innumerable inconveniences attending 
it. The Prince of Wales that now is ^ has mentioned it 
to me several times with concern, and did it again this 
very day, 7 October, 1759, and it gives me hopes that, 
as in King William's time, those pf his ministers who had 
the care of the Government business in the House of 
Commons were dismissed by him to be there by eleven 

" But it is not the fault of the present King ; his hours 
are early. It is the bad practice of the higher offices, 
and the members fall into it, as suiting the late hours of 
pleasure, exercise, or other private avocations. 

" The modern practice, too, of long adjournments at 
Christmas and Easter, and the almost constant adjourn- 
ment over Saturdays, are a great delay of business and 
of the sessions. 

" This last was begun by Sir Robert Walpole for the 
sake of his hunting, and was then much complained of, 
but now everybody is for it."" 

Onslow was a whole-hearted supporter and fearless 
advocate of the privileges of the House of Commons 
whenever it chanced to come into conflict with the 
Lords. It was, in his opinion, within his province, in 
presenting Money Bills, to advert not only to measures 
which had received the Royal Assent or were in readiness 

* George III. 

» Speaker Abbot, Lord Colchester, also raised a wail in his diary 
over the protracted sittings of the House, as is mentioned more par- 
ticularly hereafter. 


to receive it, but also to those which, after having occu- 
pied the attention of the Commons, had failed to pass the 
House of Lords. In the last ParUament of George II, 
when several Bills had been thrown out by the Peers, 
he thought it his right and duty to have animadverted 
upon their failure and their value and importance to the 
Constitution, and, as appears by a copy of his intended 
speech endorsed in his own hand, he was only prevented 
from deUvering his opinion at the Bar of the House of 
Lords by the accident of the King's sudden indisposition, 
which disabled him from coming in person to prorogue 

Onslow took leave of the House of Commons, two days 
before the dissolution, on i8 March, 1761, in the follow- 
ing simple words, spoken straight from his heart : — 

" I was never under so great a difficulty in my life to 
know what to say in this place as I am at present — In- 
deed it is almost too much for me — I can stand against 
misfortunes and distresses : I have stood against mis- 
fortunes and distresses ; and I may do so again : But 
I am not able to stand this overflow of good will and 
honour to me. It overpowers me ; and had I all the 
strength of language, I could never express the full 
sentiments of my heart upon this occasion, of thanks 
and gratitude. If I have been happy enough to perform 
any services here, that are acceptable to the House, I am 
sure I now receive the noblest reward for them : the 
noblest that any man can receive for any merit, far supe- 
rior, in my estimation, to all the other emoluments of 
this world. I owe everything to this House. I not only 
owe to this House that I am in this place, but that I 
have had their constant support in it ; and to their good 

• Vide Lord Colchester's Diary. 


will and assistance, their tenderness and indulgence to- 
wards me in my errors, it is, that I have been able to 
perform my duty here to any degree of approbation : 
Thanks therefore are not so much due to me for these 
services, as to the House itself, who made them to be 
services in me. 

" When I began my duty here, I set out with a resolu- 
tion and promise to the House, to be impartial in every- 
thing, and to show respect to everybody. The first I 
know I have done, it is the only merit I can assume : If 
I have failed in the other, it was unwillingly, it was in- 
advertently ; and I ask their pardon, most sincerely, to 
whomsoever it may have happened — I can truly say the 
giving satisfaction to all has been my constant aim, my 
study, and my pride. 

" And now, sirs, I am to take my last leave of you. 
It is, I confess, with regret, because the being within 
these walls has ever been the chief pleasure of my life : 
But my advanced age and infirmities, and some other 
reasons, call for retirement and obscurity. 

" There I shall spend the remainder of my days ; and 
shall only have power to hope and to pray, and my hopes 
and prayers, my daily prayer will be, for the continuance 
of the Constitution in general, and that the freedom, the 
dignity and authority of this House may be perpetual."^ 

The ex-Speaker died of a gradual decay in Great 
Russell Street on February 17th, 1768. He had removed 
there, on quitting the Chair, in order to be near the 
British Museum, of which he was one of the founders. 
In his retirement he found his principal solace in his well- 
stored Hbrary, and in the visits of politicians of both parties 
who desired the benefit of his advice and experience. 
He was buried first at Thames Ditton, near a former 

^ Commons Journals, Vol. XXVIII, p. 1108. 


residence of his at Imber Court, ^ but his remains 
were subsequently removed to Merrow, near Guildford. 
There are two portraits of him in the Speaker's House, 
and another at Clandon Park. A likeness of him, as a 
young man, habited in his Speaker's robes, attributed 
to Sir Godfrey Kneller, is in the National Portrait 
Gallery. But unless Kneller was a prophet as well 
as a painter this ascription must be incorrect, for 
Sir Godfrey died in 1723, and Onslow did not become 
Speaker until 1727-28. The story, which originated with 
Lord Colchester, that the chairs in which he and his uncle, 
Richard Onslow, sat were removed to Clandon is apo- 
cryphal, though Speaker Addington, in the next century, 
claimed the chair as his personal property and took it 
away with him. The chair occupied by Manners-Sutton 
at the time of the great Reform Bill, is however pre- 
served at Melbourne. 

In Onslow's time a proposal was set on foot to 
build a new House for the Commons, and plans were 
even prepared for it and for a new House of Lords by 
Lord Burlington, in consultation with the Speaker. 
As early as 1719 the condition of many parts of the 
old Palace of Westminster was considered to be danger- 
ous, and the Speaker, after consultation by the Office of 
Works, was requested to report on the repairs which were 
necessary to make secure the passage leading from St. 
Stephen's Chapel to the Painted Chamber, the roof and 
gable end of the Court of Requests, the roof of the 
Speaker's private chambers and those belonging to the 
Clerk of the House, Paul Jodrell.^ The condition of the 

' Speaker's Lane is still known locally. 
* Commons Journals, Vol. XIX, p. 65. 


Cottonian Library was inquired into at the same time, 
and it was eventually condemned as ruinous. Nothing 
game of Lord Burlington's scheme of 1733, yet from 
time to time the demand for an enlarged Chamber is 
renewed, and even quite recently the congested state of 
the House on occasions of important divisions has been 
put forward as an argument in favour of Home Rule for 
Ireland ! 

The first Parliament of George III, which met for 
business on 3 November, 1761, chose as its Speaker 
Sir John Cust, of Belton, Lincolnshire, the ancestor of 
the Earls Brownlow, and the Tory member for Grantham. 
Horace Walpole, who was naturally critical of the suc- 
cessor to the really great man whom Sir Robert had 
selected to fill the Chair, wrote a few days later : — 

" Sir John Cust is Speaker, and baiting his nose, the 
Chair seems well filled." 

He was by no means a success, and he allowed great 
licence in debate. During the hearing of John Wilkes's 
case he sat in the Chair for sixteen hours, which was 
considered a great feat in those days. 

" Think of the Speaker, Nay, think of the Clerks taking 
most correct minutes for sixteen hours and reading them 
over to every witness ; and then let me hear of fatigue ! 
Do you know, not only my Lord Temple — ^who you may 
swear never budged as spectator — ^but old Will Chetwynd, 
now past eighty, and who had walked to the House, did 
not stir a single moment out of his place, from three in 
the afternoon till the division at seven in the morning." ^ 

On 17 January, 1770, Cust was taken ill and could 
not attend the sitting of the House; he resigned on 

' Horace Walpole to the Earl of Hertford, 15 February, 1764. 


22 January, and died five days later from a paralytic 
seizure at an age when men are still considered young. 
Educated at Eton, he lived in Argyll Buildings, 
Great Marlborough Street, in 1761 and 1762, but re- 
moved to Downing Street after the latter year. He is 
buried in St. George's Church, Stamford. ^ Hogarth, 
who had already painted the interior of the House of 
Commons with Speaker Onslow in the Chair, introduced 
Cust's portrait in The Times, Plate 2. Drawn in 1762, 
the plate, for some unexplained reason, was not issued 
until after the artist's death. 

Lord North, in looking for another Speaker, reverted 
to the practice of appointing an experienced lawyer. 
His choice fell upon Sir Fletcher Norton, who, after having 
been leader of the northern circuit, had been Solicitor- 
General in the Bute Administration, and Attorney- 
General in that of George Grenville. He was dismissed 
from the latter post on the formation of the Rockingham 
Cabinet in July, 1765. He was talked of for the Master- 
ship of the Rolls, but the Lord Chancellor objected to 
the appointment being made. If it had been, he would 
have been the last Speaker who ever held that office. 
At the Bar he earned the reputation of being a bold 
pleader rather than a learned counsel, and his greed of 
money gained him the nickname of " Sir Bull Face Double 

' Of Speakers known to have been educated at Eton, Cust was 
the first, though in the absence of the earlier school lists it is not 
possible to say with certainty whether any of his predecessors were 
trained at Henry's " holy shade." Speakers Grenville, Manners- 
Sutton, Denison, Brand, Peel, and Lowther were all at Eton, whilst 
Harley, Hanmer, and Abbot were Westminster boys ; and Arthur 
Onslow, Cornwall, Addington, Mitford, and Shaw-Lefevre received 
their early education at Winchester. No Harrow man has ever filled 
the Chair. 


1761, 1768 

F^'oiii a paintij/g in the S/ieaAers House 


Fee. ' ' His demeanour, both in public and private, was over- 
bearing, and his manners coarse ; and he showed his con- 
tempt for his fellow-members when on one occasion he 
told the House that in debating a point of law he should 
value their opinion no more than that of a parcel of 
drunken porters. 

Mrs. Piozzi, in her autobiography, quotes one of the 
many satirical verses made on this Speaker : — 

" Careless of censure, and no fool to fame, 
Firm in his double post and double fees. 
Sir Fletcher, standing without fear or shame, 

Pockets the cash, and lets them laugh that please." 

Junius was even more severe in his strictures. "This," 
he said, " is the very lawyer described by Ben Jonson," 


" ' Gives forked counsel ; takes provoking gold 
On either hand, and puts it up. 
So wise, so grave, of so perplexed a tongue 
And loud, withal, that would not wag, nor scarce lie 
still, without a fee.' " 

He fell foul of the elder Pitt in 1766, and accused him, 
during the debates on the petition of the Stamp Act, of 
" sounding the trumpet to rebellion," whereon Pitt in- 
timated that he would be ready to fight a duel with him 
" when his blood was warm." Naturally the Whigs 
opposed his elevation to the Chair, but Norton was 
successful by 237 votes to 121 recorded for Mr. Thomas 
Townshend, who had been put forward, against his 
will, as a protest against the nominee of the Court. 
Horace Walpole had a strong aversion to Norton, though 
he was quick to see that he would rule the House 
more firmly than Speaker Cust had been able to do : 


" Sir Fletcher Norton consented to be Speaker of the 
House of Commons. Nothing can exceed the badness of 
his character, even in this bad age ; yet I think he can 
do less hurt in the Speaker's Chair than anywhere 
else. He has a roughness and insolence, too, which will 
not suffer the licentious speeches of these last days, and 
which the poor creature his predecessor did not dare to 
reprimand." ^ 

If ever a Court nursed a viper in its bosom, it was 
Sir Fletcher Norton. No sooner was he installed in the 
Chair than he entered into unseemly wrangles with 
private members, and in a peculiarly offensive article, 
" The Memoirs of Sir Bull Face Double Fee and Mrs. 
G — h — m," 2 which appeared in the Town and Country 
Magazine for May, 1770, it was said that he persistently 
used his position to browbeat the minority. When some 
disorder arose in debate, he cried, " Pray, gentlemen, be 
orderly : you are almost as bad as the other House." 
On II February, 1774, he called the attention of the 
House to a letter written by Home Tooke in the Public 
Advertiser, reflecting on his conduct in the Chair, but in 
a truly magnanimous spirit the House vindicated its 
Speaker and ordered Woodfall, the printer of the letter, 
to appear at the Bar. 

In the next Parliament, despite his unpopularity with 
the Court, Norton was re-elected to the Chair and with- 
out a contest, as his very audacity prevented men from 
placing themselves in competition with such a notorious 
bully. In presenting to the Lords the Bill for the better 
support of the Royal Household on 7 May, 1777, he 

' Horace Walpole to Mann, 19 January, 1770. 
* Goreham. 


1770, 1774 
Fj-fliii a painting; by Sir U ni. Bcechy in the possession 0/ Lord Crantley 


made an extraordinary speech, recalling some of the 
utterances of the mediaeval Speakers in drawing attention 
to the extravagance of the Plantagenet kings. He said 
that the Commons had granted to His Majesty a very 
great additional revenue, " great beyond example, great 
beyond Your Majesty's highest expense." ^ Some con- 
temporary reports gave the last word as " wants " in- 
stead of " expense," but the Speaker denied their ac- 

The Court was, naturally, highly indignant, and 
Richard Rigby was put up in the House to arraign the 
conduct of the Speaker, which he did in a speech of 
great acrimony, declaring that the general sense of the 
House had been grossly misrepresented by its official 
spokesman. Thurlow, who was Attorney-General at the 
time, also contended that the Speaker had given utter- 
ance to his own sentiments, and not those of the House 
at all. But on this occasion Fox came to his rescue, and, 
by a skilful piece of special pleading, induced the House 
to assent to a motion exonerating the Speaker whilst 
stultifying its previous action. 

During the debate on Burke's Establishment BilP the 
Speaker made a violent attack on Lord North : " There 
was a strange scene of Billingsgate between the Speaker 
and the Minister ; the former stooping to turn informer, 
and accusing the latter of breach of promise on a lucra- 
tive job, in which Sir Fletcher was to have been advan- 
taged." * As the Speaker continued to act in hostiUty to 
the Court, George III was determined that, if he could 

* Cobbett's Parliamentary History, Vol. XIX, p. 213. 

• 13 March, 1780. 

' Horace Walpole to Mann, 14 March, 1780. 


prevent it, he should not be voted to the Chair a third 
time. It was during Norton's tenure of office that women 
were excluded from the gallery of the House in conse- 
quence of a disturbance which took place in the year 
1778. After that date they were only permitted to view 
the proceedings from a ventilator in the roof of St. 
Stephen's Chapel. Twenty-five tickets for this apart- 
ment were issued every night by the Serjeant-at-Arms. 
Wraxall relates that he had seen the Duchess of Gordon 
habited as a man sitting in the Strangers' Gallery, and 
the beautiful Mrs. Sheridan is said to have adopted the 
same disguise in order to listen to her husband's oratory. 

In the middle of the eighteenth century the House of 
Commons presented a much more picturesque appear- 
ance than it does at the present day. Members wore 
their orders, stars glittered on the front benches, and 
after the revival of the Order of the Bath red ribands 
were contrasted with blue. Lord North was always 
spoken of as " the noble lord in the blue ribbon." It 
was the etiquette of Parliament to wear orders, as at 
Court, and the lace cravat and ruffle, the powdered hair 
worn in a queue, were all but universal. 

The members for the City of London were the last to pre- 
serve a trace of the former splendour of vestment when on 
the first day of a new session they took their seats on the 
Treasury Bench in all the gorgeousness of mazarine robes 
and gold chains. The last Speaker of the unreformed 
House, Manners-Sutton, with the red riband of the Bath 
thrown across his manly figure, looked the impersonation 
of grandeur in apparel. Even Fox, before he adopted 
the blue frock-coat and buff waistcoat, was seen in the 
House by the all-observant Wraxall in a hat and feather. 

^M.tJ$>l]u^,1p St G.*'^-'''... 

/I caricatiiri- l<y Inglcby lent hy Lord Gr,i)ith\ 


The American Revolution swept away Court suits, 
swords, and bag wigs ; and Pitt dealt a mortal blow at 
the wearing of hair powder. With the French Revolu- 
tion came a more sombre taste in dress, levelling all dis- 
tinctions ; and with an occasional eccentricity of attire, 
adopted, as a rule, for the sake of acquiring notoriety, 
the House presents at the present time a depressing 
uniformity of sartorial art, reheved only by the uniforms 
of the Mover and Seconder of the Address in answer to 
the gracious Speech from the Throne, and the periodical 
appearances of an officer of the Household when bearing 
a message from the Crown. 

Sir Fletcher Norton lived in Lincoln's Inn Fields till 
his death on i January, 1789. He bought his house 
there. No. 63, in 1758 for £1721, and when sold in 1884 
it realized £13,000. Its windows were broken by a mob 
on 8 May, 1771, when the town went mad because the 
House had committed Brass Crosby and Richard Oliver 
to the Tower in connection with Wilkes's agitation for 
the liberty of the Press. An even greater crowd attacked 
Lord North's house in the Cockpit at Whitehall and 
threatened to pull it down. 

After Speaker Norton's transference to the House of 
Lords, as Baron Grantley of Markenfield,^ he exhibited 
the same instability of political principle which had 
marked his earlier career ; but he ultimately returned 
to the Tory fold when his capacity for inflicting serious 
harm on his party had vanished. On the meeting of 
George Ill's fourth Parliament he had persuaded himself 

' John Wilkes said, when he heard of the title which Norton had 
selected, that it was most appropriate since it was composed of his two 
favourite objects — a grant and a lie. 


into believing that he would again be nominated for the 
Chair, and he professed to be highly indignant when the 
House chose Mr. Charles Wolfran Cornwall, member of 
a respectable Herefordshire family and a Gray's Inn 
lawyer without much practice at the Bar, in his place. 
" Sir Fletcher Norton, who never haggles with shame, 
published his own disgrace, and declared that he had 
been laid aside without notice. Courts do not always 
punish their own profligates so justly," were the scathing 
words in which Horace Walpole pronounced his presi- 
dential epitaph. 

Mr. Cornwall's political complexion was supposed to 
have been determined when he married, in 1764, Lord 
Liverpool's sister. But for a time he attached himself 
to Lord Shelburne and acted with the Whigs. Later 
on he found political salvation under Lord North, 
from whom he accepted the post of a Lord of the 
Treasury. The new Speaker possessed a sonorous voice 
and an imposing presence, two extremely valuable Par- 
liamentary assets, but he was by nature of a shy and 
retiring disposition, and was described by Walpole — a not 
altogether unprejudiced critic — as "blushing up to the 
eyes from a crimson conscience." 

One of the minor economies in Burke's Bill for the re- 
duction of the CivU List produced a curious situation 
at the close of the session of 1782. The Jewel Office had 
recently been abolished in the general process of retrench- 
ment, and when the King signified his intention of pro- 
roguing Parliament in person the officials hitherto re- 
sponsible for the conveyance of the Regalia from the 
Tower were found to be non-existent. No one seemed 
to know exactly whose business it was to issue the order 


1780, 1784 

From a painting by Gaimbrtrough in the Speaker^ s House 


for the production of the crown and sceptre, or how they 
were to be transported to Westminster. Neither the 
Lord Chancellor or the Speaker could solve the riddle ; 
but the Home Secretary ^ rose to the occasion at the 
last moment, and, dispensing with a mihtary escort, 
empowered the Bow Street magistrates to convey the 
RegaHa of England in two hackney coaches with 
blinds closely drawn, and guarded only by a handful 
of police officers. They took a circuitous and unfre- 
quented route by the New Road down Great Portland 
Street and thence to Westminster, returning the same 
way in the afternoon without attracting the slightest 
pubhc attention. Had the secret of these unpretentious 
vehicles been revealed a dozen armed desperadoes could 
easily have overpowered the police and emulated the far 
more hazardous exploit of Colonel Blood in the reign of 
Charles II. And had any mishap occurred to the Crown 
jewels the severest censure would justly have been cast 
upon a system of economy fraught with such disastrous 
consequences at the outset. 

On 27 February, 1786, Cornwall gave a casting vote 
against the Government on the question of the proposed 
fortification of Portsmouth and Plymouth at what was 
then considered the huge cost of a million of money. 
The plan was condemned in the House by General 
Burgoyne, Sheridan, and Fox, and the dawn had begun 
to stream in through the windows of St. Stephen's Chapel 
when the division was called. The members were found 
to be 169 on each side, and an uproar arose unparalleled 
since the defeat of Lord North in 1782. Silence having 

' The Rt. Hon. Thomas Toivnshend. Previously to 1782 he was 
officially styled Secretary of State for the Northern Department. 


been restored Cornwall stood up, and, after declaring the 
numbers, added that at so late an hour he was too 
exhausted to enter into the merits of a subject already 
fully discussed. " I shall therefore content myself with 
voting against the original motion, and declaring that 
the Noes have carried the question." Caricatures were 
issued representing the Duke of Richmond, the Master 
of the Ordnance and the real author of the scheme, 
attempting to apply a match to a battery of artillery, 
while the Speaker, in his robes, extinguished the fire by 
the same means which Gulhver adopted when he suc- 
ceeded in quenching the flames which broke out in the 
royal apartments of Lilliput. 

In the Coalition Ministry, headed by the Duke of 
Portland in 1783, Cornwall was unanimously re-elected, 
and he remained in the Chair till his death, which, 
by a singular coincidence, occurred within twenty-four 
hours of his old opponent. Sir Fletcher Norton.^ 

History has recorded the name of one, at least, of 
those who have attained the great position of the Chair 
whom the House was constrained to expel on the ground 
of corruption proved up to the hilt ; of others, like 
Dudley, Empson, and Rich, who deserve the contempt 
of posterity in an even higher degree. A Speaker has 
been known to burst into tears in the Chair ; but, up 
till such a comparatively recent period as 1780, no case 
had occurred in which a Speaker has been chiefly re- 
membered for his having been addicted to drink. 

A new precedent was set in an easy-going age, when 
Mr. Speaker Cornwall relieved the tedium of long debates 

1 Lord Grantley died on i January, and Mr. Cornwall on 2 January, 


by copious draughts of porter, a flagon of which was 
placed conveniently at his elbow. 

" Like sad Prometheus fastened to the rock, 
In vain he looks for pity to the clock. 
In vain th' effects of strengthening porter tries, 
And nods to Bellamy's for fresh supplies." ^ 

Cornwall had the advantage of hearing the greatest 
oratorical triumphs of Pitt and Fox, the thunders of 
Burke, and the lightning-like flashes of Sheridan's wit. 
Was it Sheridan, or Lord Hervey, who said of a fellow- 
member of Parliament that he was evidently bent upon 
doing his party all the harm he could, since he spoke for 
them and voted against them ? Yet not one of these 
giants of debate could keep the Speaker from falling 
asleep in his Chair. 

Once when David Hartley, the worthy member for 
Hull, but a portentously dull speaker, whose rising was 
usually the signal for a general exodus, asked the Speaker's 
permission to read a clause in the Riot Act, Burke ex- 
claimed, before the Speaker could intervene, " You have 
read it already ; the mob is dispersed." Another story 
of the same unconscionable talker against time is that 
Mr. Jenkinson, afterwards Lord Liverpool, leaving the 
house as Hartley rose to speak, once rode down to 
Wimbledon, dined there, rode back, and found him still 
on his legs prosing to a select and patient few. 

On his first entry into Parliament Cornwall lived in 
Golden Square, then a fashionable quarter of the town, 
but on being called to the Chair he removed to the Privy 
Garden, Whitehall. His portrait, by Gainsborough, at 

^ The RoUiad. 


the Speaker's House is one of the best in the whole 
collection. Wraxall, whose memoirs of contemporary 
notabilities are especially valuable at this period, snap- 
pishly said of him : " Never was any man in a public 
situation less regretted or sooner forgotten." 

When the necessity arose for appointing a successor 
to Cornwall, and the younger Pitt looked round the 
ministerial benches, he bethought himself of his cousin, 
William Wyndham Grenville, who was exactly of his 
own age. When only twenty-two he had been appointed 
Chief Secretary for Ireland, his brother. Earl Temple, 
being the Lord-Lieutenant, for it was an axiom in the 
Pitt family that the Grenvilles must be taken care of. 
It was an age of young men, and even whilst he was at 
Eton Grenville had attracted the attention of the out- 
side world. There was a rebellion in the school, and two 
hundred boys left Eton for an inn at Maidenhead. They 
observed great order and method in their proceedings, 
choosing officers and keeping accounts of their expendi- 
ture. Young Grenville was asked whether he would be 
treasurer or captain. Without hesitation he said he 
would rather be treasurer. Whilst the young rebels were 
awaiting events Grenville received a letter from his 
father^ ordering him to return to Eton immediately on 
pain of never seeing his face again. Much perplexed at 
the receipt of the letter, for before it reached him the 
boys had taken an oath to stand by one another, he 
determined to obey his father and quit the confederacy. 

Showing his companions his accounts, he asked that 
they might be examined to see if they were correct. 
Whereupon young Montagu, a son of Lord Sandwich, 

* George Grenville, First Lord of the Treasury 1763-65. 


Frovi a ptintiHg- in the National Portrait Gallery 


who was captain, told him that he had made a good 
treasurer, but a miserable leader of a party, and that he 
did not doubt that they would meet again in some other 
place, where Grenville might depend upon his being re- 
proached for the desertion of his friends. Young Gren- 
ville was sent back to Eton by his father for a few hours 
(probably in order to be flogged), and was then taken 
away from the school. Lord Granby, who had two sons 
in the rebellion, sent them to the play, saying : " You 
shall go there to-night for your pleasure, and to-morrow 
you shall return to Dr. Foster and be flogged for mine ! '' 
Lord Sandwich's son was a good prophet, for a cold and un- 
sympathetic manner prevented Grenville in after life from 
kindhng the enthusiasm so necessary to successful leader- 
ship, be his industry and integrity what it may. That 
he was quite conscious of this defect is apparent from a 
letter he wrote to his brother years later : " I am not 
competent to the management of men. I never was so 
naturally, and toil and anxiety more and more unfit me 
for it." 

Few men have reached the Speaker's Chair at such 
an early age, at any rate since the Middle Ages, as 
Grenville. He was not thirty at the time of his 
election by 215 votes to 144 recorded for Sir Gilbert 
Elliot. On this occasion, as the King was ill, the new 
Speaker did not go up to the House of Peers for the 
royal approbation. Had the King's illness continued, 
and the Regency Bill passed in 1788, the Whigs, on 
entering of&ce, would have dissolved Parliament, and it 
was generally understood that Michael Angelo Taylor 
would have been appointed Speaker. But the recovery 
of the King extinguished Taylor's brilliant prospects. 


One of Gillray's clever caricatures satirises his dis- 
appointment: "The New Speaker between the Hawks 
and the Buzzards " depicts the opposing parties uniting 
in preventing Taylor from ascending the Chair. Michael 
Angelo Taylor, if remembered at all at the present day, 
is rescued from Parliamentary oblivion by an Act which 
he was instrumental in passing for the improvement of 
the London streets, and which is always called by his 

Grenville only held office for five months, as he became 
Home Secretary in the summer of 1789. The next year 
he was made a peer, and when, on the death of Pitt, 
the Tory party was rent into a multitude of fortuitous 
atoms, he became Prime Minister of " all the Talents," 
the ministry which did indeed abolish the slave trade, 
but failed in nearly everything else which it attempted. 
The rewards which were showered on the Grenville 
family during a long series of years, and especially under 
Lord Liverpool, were so considerable as to give rise to 
Lord Holland's witty saying : " All articles are now to 
be had at low prices, except Grenvilles." William 
Wyndham Grenville, it must be admitted, was as 
great an offender in this respect as any member of 
his family, for he held the post of Auditor of the Ex- 
chequer, a sinecure worth £4000 a year, for forty years, 
though much blamed for retaining it after he became 
Prime Minister. 

For calling the Grenvilles " a family of cormorants " 
the Duke of Buckingham challenged the Duke of Bed- 
ford of that day to a duel in Kensington Gardens. 
His Grace of Stowe, who was of enormous bulk, should 
have presented an excellent target to his adversary, but 


though shots were exchanged on both sides, honour pro- 
fessed itself satisfied without the shedding of a drop of 
blood. The seconds were Lord Ljmedoch and Sir Watkin 
Wynn, and a caricature of the scene was published, en- 
titled " The Bloodless Rencontre," 1822.1 

Speaker Grenville's knowledge of the procedure of the 
House of Commons cannot have been extensive, and he 
was probably content to rely upon the advice of Hatsell, 
an acknowledged authority on the subject, and Clerk 
of the House from 1768 to 1797. His clerk assistant, John 
Ley, one of an old Devonshire family which has served 
the House of Commons in an official capacity for 150 
years, became Clerk in 1797. (at first as deputy to Hatsell), 
and retained the post until his death in 1814. To him 
succeeded Jeremiah Dyson, 1814-20 ; John Henry Ley, 
1820-50 ; Sir Denis Le Marchant, 1850-71 ; Sir Thomas 
Erskine May (Lord Famborough), 1871-86 ; Sir Reginald 
Palgrave, 1886-1900 ; Sir Archibald MUman, 1900-02, 
who was succeeded in the latter year by Sir Courtenay 
Ilbert, transferred to Westminster from the Treasury. 
Before becoming Speaker Grenville lived at the Pay Office 
in Whitehall, and on resigning the Chair he removed to 
20, St. James's Square (Sir Watkin Wynn's beautiful 
Adam house), where he lived with his widowed sister. 
His widow. Lord Camelford's daughter, survived him 
until 1864, a remarkable link with the past. 

Pitt's next choice for the Chair was Henry Addington, 
the son of his father's regular medical attendant, and. 

' This anecdote was told to the author by the Rt. Hon. G. W. E. 
Russell, grandson of the sixth Duke of Bedford, who had heard it 
from his father, Lord Charles Russell, Serjeant-at-Arms to the House 
of Commons from 1848 to 1875. 



like the previous Speaker, still in the prime of youth. 
Sir Gilbert Elliot was again put forward by the Oppo- 
sition, and though by a strange coincidence exactly the 
same number of votes were recorded for Addington as 
there had been for Grenville, EUiot's supporters feU 
off by two. When old Addington heard of his son's 
success he is said to have remarked: "Depend upon 
it this is but the beginning of that boy's career." 
On three subsequent occasions he was re-elected unani- 
mously. "The doctor," as he was facetiously called, 
had not sat long in the House, and his voice was 
almost unknown in it, but he had applied himself 
diligently to the study of the procedure and practice 
of Parliament. A new departure was made in 1790, when 
he was voted a fixed salary of £6000 a year, in place of the 
old system of remuneration by fees and sinecure offices. 
A genial mediocrity, he was very popular with the 
country party, and Pitt had a high opinion of him, 
which posterity has not altogether shared. On the other 
hand spiteful Whigs, like Creevey, always spoke of 
him as "the cursed apothecary." In the celebrated 
altercation which took place between Pitt and Tierney 
in May, 1798, his personal predilection for the former 
overbore his impartiality. When he learnt that a duel 
was to take place, not only did he make no attempt 
to put a stop to it, but he went to Wimbledon 
Common to be an eye-witness of the encounter. On 
the following Sunday ^ two shots were exchanged 
on either side without a hit, when the seconds pro- 
nounced that honour was satisfied. Pitt's opponents 
declared that he had indulged not wisely but too well in 

» 27 May, 1798. 

'id.pDixt. H. Scriven sculpt. 


17S9, 1790, 1796, iSoi 

From a />rint 


the convivialities of the dinner table on the afternoon of 
the debate, which gave rise to the duel. However this 
may be, such symposia were not uncommon at the close 
of the eighteenth century, and The Rolliad contains a 
pointed allusion to a scene of this description in an 
epigram on Pitt and Dundas : — 

" I can't see the Speaker, Hal ; can you ? " 
" Not see the Speaker, Will ! I see two." 

Old John Ley, the Clerk of the House in succession to 
Hatsell, was so disturbed at Pitt's condition on one 
occasion that he declared he had not been able to sleep 
all night for thinking of it. 

But when the Prime Minister was told of this, he 
laughed it off by saying : 

" Could there possibly have been a fairer division ? 
I had the wine, and the Clerk, poor man, had the head- 
ache ! " 

In February, 1801, Addington resigned the Speaker- 
ship, and in March he became First Lord of the Treasury 
in an administration which was only noteworthy for the 
Peace of Amiens. The periodical recurrence of mediocrity 
in high places, counterbalancing and correcting the 
achievements of genius, is a curious and persistent feature 
of English political life. Not easy to account for but 
patent to all, it is probably not without advantage to a 
community temporarily satiated with the heroic element 
in public affairs, and, when an Addington succeeds a Pitt, 
or a Wilmington replaces a Walpole as leading minister 
of the Crown, it is often found that the Parliamentary 
machine runs all the smoother from not being driven at full 
speed. Almost wholly uninformed upon foreign affairs, for 


he had never visited the Continent or studied diplomatic 
interests, Addington's mind was not attuned to the ready 
comprehension of international politics. " Home-keeping 
youth have ever homely wits," and, whilst he had a fair 
knowledge of finance and a conciliatory Parhamentary 
manner, he was conspicuously lacking in that elevation 
of mind and loftiness of character which so distinguished 
the younger Pitt. 

" As London is to Paddington 
So is Pitt to Addington," 

ran a couplet which was composed at the time of his 
being called to the head of the Administration. 

When the war with France broke out again in 1803 the 
Prime Minister's opponents said that his gaze was directed 
exclusively to the Channel and to that, to him, unknown 
French coast, in abject terror at the thought of the 
threatened invasion of England's shores by Napoleon. 
No sooner did Pitt weary of the seclusion of Walmer 
Castle and evince a desire to resume his former 
position than Addington's power dissolved into thin 
air. He subsided for a time into private life, soon, 
however, to reappear in a subordinate position. It 
was then that his great opponent Canning said of him : 
" Addington is like the chicken-pox or the measles. 
Ministers are bound to have him at least once in their 
lives." During his tenure of the Chair the House voted 
the buildings formerly occupied by the Auditor of the 
Exchequer as an official residence for the Speaker. 
Addington seems to have taken up his abode in the 
Palace in 1795. The crypt of St. Stephen's Chapel, which 
had been used in the time of Lord Halifax as a coal- 



Frotn a print by Js. Gillray 


cellar, was converted into a state dining-room, and, as " the 
doctor " was of a convivial nature, and wont to describe 
himself as the " last survivor of the port-wine faction," 
he entertained there frequently. An account of one of 
these banquets will be found at a later page.^ 

His daughter-in-law, the second Lady Sidmouth, 
who only died in 1894 at the great age of ninety- 
nine, lived much in her youth with her father-in- 
law, and with Mr. Hatsell, the Clerk of the House. 
She retained in her old age a vivid recollection 
of Pitt and Fox, and well remembered hearing Wilber- 
force speak on the abolition of the Slave Trade. But 
probably her most interesting reminiscence was in 
connection with Nelson : she distinctly recollected his 
coming to dine at the White Lodge in Richmond Park^ in 
1805, and explaining the plan of his operations which 
ended with the glorious victory of Trafalgar. The Admiral 
traced the probable course of his fleet on the dinner 
table, dipping his finger in a glass of wine to illustrate 
his meaning. This table is still preserved as an heirloom 
at Up Ottery Manor, the family place, in Devon- 

It has been well said that genius has no ancestry. 
Yet mediocrity can often successfully lay claim to a long 
pedigree. Old Dr. Addington, prior to his retirement to 
Reading, had practised the healing art first in Bedford 
Row, in which unfashionable street the future Speaker 
and Prime Minister was bom in 1757, and afterwards in 

* In 1798 the House voted :£2S42 los. 6d. for the expense of fitting 
up the houses occupied by the Speaker and the Serjeant-at-Arms. 
{Commons Journals, 24 April, 1798.) 

' Of which her father-in-law, the ex-Speaker, was Deputy Ranger. 


Clifford Street, Burlington Gardens. On his son's being 
raised to the Peerage he astonished his friends by proving 
his descent from a Devonshire family seated at Up Ottery 
since the seventeenth century. The new peer adopted 
as his motto the words " Libertas sub rege pio," which 
" Bobus " Smith impudently translated into " Our 
pious king has got liberty under." 

Of Speaker Addington there is a likeness by Phillips 
in the official residence at Westminster. The formation 
of the collection there was due to his initiative ; it 
fortunately escaped destruction in the great fire of 
1834, and since his time it has been considerably aug- 
mented both by purchase and by the munificence of 
private donors. The portrait of the next Speaker, Sir 
John Mitford, afterwards Lord Redesdale, was thrown 
out of the window in the hurry and confusion of the 
fire, but not till it had been charred and singed by the 
flames, and it bears the marks of this rough usage to 
the present day. 

On the death of Lord Clare, Mitford was made Lord 
Chancellor of Ireland, with a salary of £10,000 and a 
retiring pension of £4000, and a peer of the United King- 
dom. He was the last Speaker to be transferred to the 
Judicial Bench on vacating the Chair. According to Sir 
Egerton Brydges, he was " a sallow man, with a round 
face and blunt features, of a middle height, thickly and 
heavily built, and had a heavy, drawling, tedious manner 
of speech." His election to the Chair was opposed by 
Sheridan, though he did not press his objection to a divi- 
sion. Mitford's attention had been directed to the office 
of Speaker by Hatsell at the time of Addington's election, 
but, as he naively told his successor, what he really had 

From a painting in the Speaker s House 


in view was the more lucrative Mastership of the Rolls. 
When Mitford was chosen he conferred with Abbot, 
telling him that he did not think the position was 
so arduous as some chose to represent it, and that he 
was of opinion that it only required diligence, civiUty, 
and firmness. Abbot was also informed by Addington 
that though Mitford had accepted the chair, it might 
not be for long, and that he wished him to qualify him- 
self as far as possible to succeed him on the next vacancy.^ 
With the appreciative eye of a new member Abbot 
recorded in his diary his impressions of a state dinner 
given by his friend "the doctor" in February, 1796. 
Nothing seems to have escaped his attention with the 
exception of the hour at which the banquet began. 

" Dined at the Speaker's. We were twenty in number. 
Lord Bridport, Sir George Beaumont, Sir A. Edmonstone, 
Sir W. Scott Lascelles, Colonel Beaumont, Mr. Adams, 
Sir H. G. Calthorpe, Bankes, Burton, Wilberforce, 
Powys, Parker, Coke, Metcalfe, E. Bouverie, Bramston, 
and Mr. Gipps and the chaplain. 

" We dined in a vaulted room under the House of 
Commons, looking towards the river, — an ancient crypt 
of St. Stephen's Chapel. 

" We were served on plate bearing the King's arms. 
Three gentlemen out of livery and four men in full 
liveries and bags. The whole party full-dressed, 
and the Speaker himself so, except that he wore no 

" The style of the dinner was soups at top and bottom, 

' Lord Colchester's diary alludes to his meeting Mitford to discuss 
the Speakership at " the Cofiee House." This must have been Howard's 
Coffee House which immediately adjoined the upper end of West- 
minster Hall. It was not burnt in the fire, but removed on the erection 
of the ne w Houses of Parliament. 


changed for fish, and afterwards changed for roast 
saddle of mutton and roast loin of veal. 

" The middle of the table was filled with a painted 
plateau ornamented with French white figures and vases 
of flowers. Along each side were five dishes, the middle 
centres being a ham and boiled chicken. 

" The second course had a pig at top, a capon at 
bottom, and the two centre middles were turkey and a 
larded guinea-fowl. The other dishes, puddings, pies, 
puffs, blancmanges, etc. The wine at the corners in 
ice pails during the dinner. Burgundy, champagne, ^ hock, 
and hermitage. The dessert was served by drawing the 
napkins and leaving the cloth on. Ices at top and bottom ; 
the rest of the dessert oranges, apples, ginger wafers, 
etc. Sweet wine was served with it. 

" After the cloth was drawn a plate of thin biscuits 
was placed at each end of the table and the wine sent 
round, viz. claret, port, Madeira, and sherry. Only one 
toast given — ' The King.' ^ 

" The room was lighted by patent lamps on the 
chimney and upon the side tables. The dinner-table had a 
double branch at top and at bottom, and on each side 
of the middle of the table. Coffee and tea were served 
on waiters at eight o'clock. The company gradually 
went out of the room, and the whole broke up at 

On II November, 1800, in consequence of some repairs 
which were in progress in St. Stephen's Chapel, the 
Commons, after the lapse of centuries, met once more 
in the Painted Chamber.* The Speaker acquainted the 
House on the opening day of the session that he had 
received a letter from the Lord Steward, in which he was 

^ An early notice of its use in England. 

' A custom still observed on these occasions. 

^ Sometimes called St. Edward's Chamber. 


commanded to inform the House that, as the chamber 
in which they usually assembled was not in a fit state 
to receive them, His Majesty had given orders that 
the Painted Chamber should be fitted up for their 
accommodation during the ensuing session. 

In adapting this venerable apartment — for it was 
probably of even earlier date than the Great Hall — 
to its temporary purpose the interesting discovery was 
made that its walls, like those of the neighbouring 
Chapel, were entirely covered under the tapestry hang- 
ings with historical paintings of considerable artistic 
merit. The subjects represented were the Wars of the 
Maccabees and scenes from the fife of Edward the Con- 
fessor, with explanatory inscriptions in Norman-French. 
These paintings were probably executed to the order of 
Henry HI, and, though careful drawings were made of 
them at the time of their discovery, the authorities who 
should have taken steps to preserve them promptly 
covered them with a coat of whitewash ! The very 
existence of these mural decorations had been forgotten, 
and they would probably have escaped notice, until their 
final destruction by fire in 1834, had it not been for the 
accidental use, for the last time in its long history, by 
the Commons of the room in which, by tradition, the 
Confessor is said to have breathed his last. Once more 
its doors were flung open to receive the body of the 
younger Pitt, who lay in state there before his interment 
in the Abbey.'- 

1 Lord Colchester notes the meeting of the House in the Painted 
Chamber in his diary for 1800, and The Times, in its Parliamentary- 
report, 12 November, 1800, also alludes to the unwonted place of 


The procession of Tory Speakers was continued by 
Charles Abbot, who was created Lord Colchester on his 
retirement, with a pension of £4000 a year and ;f30oo to 
his successor in the title. From his earhest entry into 
Parhament in 1795 he enjoyed the confidence of 
Addington, who told him to make the Chair the goal 
of his ambition. GUlray is responsible for a "Sketch 
of the Interior of St. Stephen's as it now stands," 
with portraits of Addington, Abbot, and John Ley in 
the clerk's seat. It was Speaker Abbot who gave 
his casting vote against Pitt^ when Whitbread brought 
forward a motion for the impeachment of Lord Melville 
on account of peculation in the administration of the 
Navy. Ministers made no attempt to screen Lord 
Melville, if he were guilty, from public censure ; but 
they contended that, upon a subject of such magnitude, 
affecting as it did, not only the character of Parhament, 
but of every individual member of the House, the fullest 
investigation should precede a final decision. 

Pitt proposed the appointment of a Select Committee 
to inquire into the charges brought with irresistible force 
against Lord Melville, but on the numbers being found 
to be equal, 216 to 216, the Speaker, pale with emotion 
and after ten minutes of terrible suspense, during which 
the dropping of a pin might have been heard in the 
crowded House, gave his vote against the Government. 
When the decision of the Chair was made known Pitt 
burst into tears, and at past five in the morning hurried 
from the House. The next day Lord Melville resigned. 

Speaker Abbot was the inventor of the Census ; he 
introduced many improvements in the form and printing 

1 8 April, 1805. 

TUK KIOllT II(»N: < IIVKM.S V 1> II OT , 1> ( .1. V H. Ti S . 

.J/..,, . /...v/^ j/A-'. /-:.->:.' . ~',, „/..'. 

..„,„. ±yu,f/,. 


1802-2, 1806, 1807, 1812 

Frojn a firitlt 


of the official records, and he left an interesting Parlia- 
mentary diary. In it is a valuable note on the hours of 
meeting of the House, which had steadily been growing 
later, in unison with the dinner-hour of London society. 

" Mr. Pitt asked me at parting what would be the 
proper time for beginning public business every day. I 
said I thought half-past four, if he could come. He said 
by all means, it was just as easy for him to come at that 
hour as at any other. He actually came at five." * 

Some mention has already been made of the early 
hour at which the House was accustomed to meet in 
Ehzabethan times. During the Commonwealth and in 
the reign of Charles II it was usual for the House to stand 
adjourned at its rising until the following morning at 
9 a.m. This continued to be the practice until 1770, 
when the nominal hour of meeting was altered to 10 a.m. 
This, with an occasional variation to 11 a.m., continued 
tiU the year 1810 ; but it will be seen that there was a 
considerable difference between the nominal and the 
actual time for commencing public business. 

From 1811 to 1835 no hour is mentioned in the Votes 
for resumption on the following day, but from the latter 
year the time at which the Speaker would take the Chair 
is usually notified as three or half -past. On 18 July, 
1835, it was appointed to meet at a quarter to four, at 
which hour it remained until 1888, when three o'clock was 
reverted to. The present time of meeting is a quarter 
of an hour earlier. At the close of the session of 1808 
Lord Colchester wrote : — 

j" The most laborious session for hours of sitting ever 

1 Diary of Lord Colchester. Vol. I, p. 543. 


known within living memory of the oldest members or 
officers of the House. There were iii sitting days, 
amounting to 829 hours, averaging 7 J hours a day. Since 
Easter to the close of the session rarely less than 10 or 
II hours every day." 

What would he have thought of 1887, when the House 
sat on 160 days, and for 277 hours after midnight ! 
On 24 May, 1803, the Speaker wrote in his diary : — 

" Settled with the Serjeant-at-Arms and Mr. Ley that 
the gallery door should be opened, every day if required, 
at twelve ; and the Serjeant would let the House Keeper 
understand that the ' news writers ' might be let in their 
usual places (the back row of the gallery), as being under- 
stood to have the order of particular members like any 
other strangers." 

This Speaker persuaded the Government to spend 
£70,000 in improving his official residence between 1802 
and 1808, and the alterations and additions were carried 
out by Wyatt, the fashionable architect of the day, but 
one of the greatest Vandals his profession has ever known 
when engaged on the restoration of ancient buildings. 
Worse than " Blue Dick," who " rattled down proud 
Becket's glassy bones " at Canterbury from mistaken 
religious conviction, Wyatt, at Salisbury, in addition 
to other enormities, carted into the town ditch the 
mediaeval glass which had escaped the Reformation and 
the Commonwealth. 

" The King talked to me at length about the forms 
of the House of Commons, and the conversion of the 
Speaker's house in Palace Yard. He looked remarkably 
well ; rather grown larger within the last twelvemonth, 
and very cheerful. The King having asked me very 


particularly about the Speaker's house, and its' being 
finished, I wrote to the Duke of Portland to desire he 
would ask the King for his portrait, to be placed as the 
only picture in the principal of those apartments which 
the members of the House of Commons are accustomed 
to visit in the course of the session." ^ 

The picture was given, and it was painted by Sir Thomas 
Lawrence, but it is nowhere to be found at Westminster 
now. The large expenditure on the official residence 
was much commented upon at the time, and Tierney, 
who voiced the opinion of the economists, threatened to 
bring the matter before the House ; but the Speaker 
referred him to the architect, and the storm blew over. 
Wyatt probably destroyed far more than he preserved, as 
is painfully evident from the additional plates in Smith's 
Antiquities of Westminster, in which Plates 24 and 26, 
27 and 28, show extensive demolitions in progress on the 
east side of the old House of Lords and the vicinity of 
the Princes' Chamber ; but a curious oak door, painted 
and gilt with arabesque ornaments, which was found 
plastered up in the crypt of St. Stephen's Chapel, escaped 
wanton destruction, only to perish in the fire of 1834. ^ 

On the debate on the Address, at the opening of the 
session of 1810, the Speaker showed that he was no 
respecter of persons in his official capacity. "We had 
a grand fuss in telling the House. The Princess of 
Wales, who had been present the whole time, would 
stay it out to know the numbers, and so remained in 
her place in the gallery. The Speaker very significantly 

' Diary, 20 January, 1808. 

' This door is figured in the body of Smith's Antiquities of Westmin- 
ster, which, with the additional plates, is the most valuable pictorial 
representation of the Palace, as it existed a century ago. 


called several times for strangers to withdraw ; which she 
defied, and sat on. At last the little fellow became irri- 
tated, started from his chair, and, looking up plump in 
the faces of her and her female friend, halloaed out most 
fiercely, ' If there are any strangers in the House they 
must withdraw.' They being the only two, they struck 
and withdrew." ^ 

After the triumphant return of the Tory party 
from the polls in 1812 Abbot was unanimously re- 
elected to the Chair ; but a speech which he delivered 
at the Bar of the House of Lords in the course of the 
following year brought upon him a motion of censure by 
Lord Morpeth, on account of his having introduced into 
it the subject of Roman Catholic aggression. After 
mention of the supplies granted, the financial measures 
adopted, and anticipations of future prosperity, the 
Speaker went on to say, in a passage which imme- 
diately aroused the hostility of the Opposition : — 

" But, sir, these are not the only subjects to which our 
attention has been called. Other monstrous charges have 
been proposed for our consideration. Adhering, however, 
to those laws by which the Throne, the Parliament, and 
the Government of this country are made fundamentally 
Protestant, we have not consented to allow that those 
who acknowledge a foreign jurisdiction should be autho- 
rised to administer the powers and jurisdiction of this 
realm ; willing as we are, nevertheless, and willing as I 
trust we ever shall be, to allow the largest scope to re- 
ligious toleration." 

After a heated debate. Lord Morpeth's motion was 
defeated by 274 to 106. 

* Creevey Papers, Vol. I, p. 123. 


" I remarked," says the Speaker in his diary, " to Lord 
Castlereagh, Vansittart, and Bathurst that the House had 
repeatedly refused to instruct the Speaker what he should 
say ; that they left it to him to collect the sense of the 
House from its proceedings ; and that as to pleasing 
everybody I had long ago given up that attempt." 

The earliest speech made by any Speaker which is re- 
corded in the Journals of the House of Lords is one of 
Sir Thomas Englefield in 1509-10. At first the entries 
only state the general substance of the Speaker's remarks, 
but in the reign of Elizabeth some are given by Sir 
Symonds D'Ewes at greater length. There is a speech 
of Speaker Lenthall, in 1641, given in some detail, and 
several more in the reign of Charles II. In 1689 two such 
speeches are entered in the Journals, but none during 
the reigns of William III or Anne. There are four by 
Sir Spencer Compton in the reign of George I, and one 
in the Commons Journals. From 1721 there is no pro- 
rogation speech entered at length in either Journal, 
except one by Speaker Onslow in 1745 reviewing the 
whole state of public affairs both in and out of Parliament. 

Abbot died in Spring Gardens on 8 May, 1829, and 
was buried without a monument, by the side of his 
mother, in Westminster Abbey, the first Speaker to be so 
honoured since Trussell, Puckering, and Richardson, and 
also the last in the Abbey's roll of fame. His portrait, by 
Sir Thomas Lawrence, is one of the ornaments of the 
Speaker's collection. 

The name is now reached of the only man who has 
ever been Speaker seven times, though his actual tenure 
of office was exceeded in length by both Arthur Onslow 
and Shaw - Lefevre. This was Charles Manners-Sutton, 


a son of the Archbishop of Canterbury who crowned 
George IV. But for his open connection with the 
Tory party outside the House he would undoubtedly 
have been re-elected an eighth time in 1835. Such 
an exceptional Parliamentary career deserves somewhat 
detailed examination. Manners-Sutton was originally 
intended for the Law. He entered Parhament for the 
first time in November, 1806, shortly after the death 
of Fox, and when the Ministry of " All the Talents " 
was hastening to its close to be replaced by the 
Duke of Portland as the nominal head of the Tory 

At the time of his entering the House young 
Manners-Sutton was living in Stone Buildings, Lincoln's 
Inn, and though he never had very much practice 
at the Bar, his commanding voice and presence soon 
attracted the attention of his fellow-members, and 
especially of Castlereagh, George Canning, and Spencer 
Perceval. As became the son of an archbishop, his 
maiden speech was made on the Clergy Residence Bill, 
introduced by himself.^ A little later on he was found 
supporting the retention of flogging in the army. At 
the early age of twenty-seven he had been made Judge 
Advocate-General, and was speaking as the mouthpiece 
of the Government. In 1812 he made a forcible speech 
in opposition to Lord Morpeth's motion for inquiry into 
the state of Ireland, veiling the demand for Catholic 
Emancipation. It was a long debate, and Grattan did 
not rise to address the House until four in the morning, 

^ " There was no point," he said, " in which so much improvement 
had taken place in the last t\((enty years as in the arrangements for 
the examination of candidates for Holy Orders." 

H. W. PickirssUl, R.A. 

Satmul Cousins, satlfit. 


1817, 1819, 1820, 1826, 1830, 183I, 1833 

Frovi a prin t 


nor did it adjourn until half -past five, after defeating 
Lord Morpeth's motion by a majority of ninety-four. 

Five years later Manners-Sutton's reputation was so 
well established, that on the resignation of Speaker Abbot, 
in June, 1817, little surprise was expressed when he was 
put forward by the Ministry of the day to fill the vacant 
Chair. The Opposition proposed C. W. Williams Wynn, the 
member for Merionethshire, who was heavily handicapped 
by a high falsetto voice, and in the Creevey Papers there 
is a complimentary reference to the successful candidate 
in the contest. 

" We all like our new Speaker most extremely ; he 
is gentlemanlike and obliging. The would-be Speaker ^ 
{alias Squeaker) has, as I suppose you have heard, 
moved down to my old anti-Peace of Amiens bench. 
I rejoice sincerely that I did not vote for said Squeaker, 
but some of those who did are, I hear, very much 
ashamed of themselves for it." ^ 

Mr. Wynn's brother. Sir Watkin, was also a member 
of the House, and from the peculiarity of their voices 
the two were commonly known as " Bubble and Squeak." 
At the election referred to Manners-Sutton had been 
chosen by a majority of one hundred votes, and some 
spiteful wit said that if WiUiams Wynn had minded his 
P's and Q's he might have been Speaker instead of 
Squeaker ! Once in the Chair, not even the most bitter 
Radical found cause to complain of the Speaker's par- 
tiality. He " rode the House with a snaffle rein, and not 
with a curb," as one of his political opponents remarked. 
Some colour is lent to his understanding of the changing 

^ Wynn. 

'' Lord Folkestone to Creevey, 23 February 1818. 


relations between the House and the Chair by the fact 
that when he intervened in the debates in Committee 
on the CathoUc ReUef Bill of 1825, he prefaced his re- 
marks with an apology for joining in the discussions. 
In 1827, in Canning's Administration, he could have been 
Home Secretary for the asking, but he preferred to 
remain where he was. 

Tom Moore's Diary for May, 1829, reveals a glimpse of 
Manners-Sutton's private life in the old official residence 
on the banks of the Thames. Daniel O'Connell, the 
" Liberator," had made a dramatic appearance at the 
Bar of the House, to claim the seat for Clare denied to 
him as a Roman Catholic, a circumstance which con- 
vinced the Duke of Wellington that Catholic Emancipa- 
tion could not be much longer delayed. 

" Went to the House of Commons early, having begged 
Mr. Speaker yesterday to put me on the list for under the 
gallery. An immense crowd in the lobby, Irish agitators, 
etc. ; got impatient and went round to Mr. Speaker, 
who sent the train-bearer to accompany me to the lobby, 
and after some little difficulty I got in. The House 
enormously full. O'Connell's speech good and judicious. 
Sent for by Mrs. Manners-Sutton at seven o'clock to 
have some dinner ; none but herself and daughters, 
Mr. Lockwood, and Mr. Sutton. Amused to see her in all 
her state, the same hearty, lively Irishwoman still. 
Walked with her in the garden ; the moonhght rising 
on the river, the boats gliding along it, the towers of 
Lambeth rising on the opposite bank, the Hghts of 
Westminster Bridge gleaming on the left ; and then, 
when we turned round to the House, that beautiful, 
Gothic structure, illuminated from within, and at that 
moment containing within it the council of the nation — 
all was most picturesque and striking." 


The Speaker's second wife, a Miss Ellen Power, from 
the county of Waterford, was only a recent bride at the 
time of Moore's visit. His first wife was Miss Denison, 
of the Nottinghamshire family which gave another 
Speaker to the House in after years. 

The worst fault that could be laid to Manners- 
Sutton's charge was that he was never able wholly to 
dissociate himself from old party ties and obligations. 
Lord Grey has left it on record that as early as 1831 
the opponents of Reform met at a party at the Speaker's 
house to discuss the plan of campaign, and " looked with 
confidence to its affording > them the means of striking 
an effectual blow at the Administration " whenever 
the question should come before the House. 

On Lord Grey's resignation in May, 1832, whilst the 
Duke of Welhngton was endeavouring to form an 
administration, a short-lived intrigue was got up to 
offer the post of Prime Minister to Manners-Sutton. 
The idea seems to have originated with Lord Lynd- 
hurst, aided and abetted by Vesey Fitzgerald and Ar- 
buthnot. Peel, if we may believe Greville, also favoured 
the scheme, and, animated by a singular mixture of 
ambition and caution, he desired to make Manners-Sutton 
a second Addington, whilst he was to be another Pitt. 
But at a meeting held at Apsley House, at which Peel 
was not present, Manners-Sutton made a bad impression. 
He " talked infernal nonsense " for three hours, and 
Lyndhurst and the Duke were convinced of the im- 
possibility of forming a Government under such leader- 
ship. The idea, so hastily conceived, was as promptly 
abandoned. As all the world knows, the Duke of Welling- 
ton declined to take office, and Lord Grey returned. 


Nettled perhaps at the turn of events, Manners-Sutton 
intimated to the House his wish to retire. ^ A vote of 
thanks was accorded to him, and his pension of £4000 a 
year settled. 

Merely to state that Speaker Manners-Sutton saw the 
Reform Bill of 1832 carried through all its stages would 
be to give a very inadequate idea of the strain imposed 
upon his physical powers and those of the responsible 
officers of the House. From 1830 the length of the 
sittings of the Commons went up with a bound. In 
that year the hours after midnight totalled 126 ; in 1831 
they rose to 156; and in 1832, the crucial year, they 
amounted to no less than 223, a figure never exceeded 
or approached until 1881, when, at the beginning of the 
serious agitation for Home Rule in Ireland, they reached 
the unprecedented total of 238, a figure only since ex- 
ceeded in the memorable session of 1887, when Speaker 
Peel was in the Chair. When, at last, in June, 1832, 
exactly five hundred years after the generally accepted 
date of the separation of the two Houses,^ Manners- 
Sutton went up to the House of Lords to hear the Royal 
Assent given to Bills agreed upon by both Houses, it was 
to the provisions of a measure more far-reaching in its 
after effects upon English political life than any em- 
bodied in a statute of the realm since the origin of Parlia- 

When Reform was carried the Whig leaders played 
into the Speaker's hands. Nervous at the prospect 
of meeting the first Parliament to be elected under the 
new system, they implored Manners-Sutton to serve yet 

1 30 July, 1832. 
' 1332- 


another term of office. Lord Althorp wrote him what 
Greville calls " a very flummery letter," and he accepted 
the offer.^ On 29 January, 1833, he was voted to 
the Chair by 210 votes over Edward John Littleton, ^ 
who was put forward as a candidate by the Radicals. 
In the course of the year the King conferred upon him 
the Order of the Bath, an honour not enjoyed by any of 
his predecessors since Speaker Compton.' 

Manners-Sutton was rather short-sighted, and when 
the new Parliament assembled, like the strong party 
man that he wds, he affected not to be able to distinguish 
the new Whig members' faces, nor to remember their 
names. When he had to call on Mr. Bulteel to speak 
he made a great pretence of looking at the name through 
his glass before he cried out, " Mister Bull Tail," at which 
the House laughed loud and long. One of the first of 
the new members returned in the Tory interest was the 
young representative of the Duke of Newcastle's pocket 
borough of Newark — William Ewart Gladstone. 

" The first time," he wrote to a correspondent many 
years later, " that business required me to go to the arm 
of the Chair to say something to the Speaker, Manners- 
Sutton — the first of seven whose subject I have been — 
who was something of a Keate, I remember the revival 
in me bodily of the frame of mind in which the school- 
boy stands before his master." 

Mr. Gladstone had been at Eton under Dr. Keate, and 

' Greville Memoirs, ii January, 1833. 

2 Afterwards Lord Hatherton. 

' " At Court yesterday, the Speaker was made a Knight of the 
Bath, to his great delight. It is a reward for his conduct during the 
session, in which he has done Government good and handsome service." 
(Greville Memoirs, 5 September, 1833.) 


he retained a lively recollection of the methods of persua- 
sion favoured by that well-known advocate of the birch. 
He took his seat in January, 1833, in the old House of 
Commons, which was soon afterwards to be destroyed by 
fire. On his first entry into Parliament the future Prime 
Minister took rooms in Jermyn Street, lodging over the 
shop of a corn-chandler named Crampern, a few doors 
west of York Street, St. James's Square. The corn- 
chandler in question was a relation of some of his con- 
stituents at Newark. Removing soon after to the 
Albany, Mr. Gladstone retained a lifelong partiaUty for 
St. James's, and during the session of 1890 he lived at 
No. 10, St. James's Square, the former home of Chatham. 
Lord Derby, the " Rupert of Debate," lived in the same 
house from 1837 to 1854.^ 

Lord John Russell admitted in after years that he had 
supported the candidature of Manners-Sutton in 1833 
because he felt exceedingly solicitous and somewhat diffi- 
dent concerning the reformed House of Commons . For the 
purpose of securing the advantage of his long experience 
he was willing to depart from the general rule that the 
Speaker should be the representative of the majority. 
During Manners-Sutton's last term of office Sir Thomas 
Erskine May, the greatest authority on Parliamentary 
Procedure that the House has ever known, first became 
officially connected with the Commons. Placed at first 
in the library, he imdertook, whilst a mere youth, the 
enormous labour of indexing the whole series of Journals 

^ The London County Council has recently placed a memorial tablet 
on the front of the house to commemorate its association with the 
names of three Prime Ministers. Mr. Gladstone personally informed 
the present writer of the circumstances attending his early connec- 
tion with the neighbourhood. 


from the year 1547 to the reign of Queen Anne. As an 
illustration of the changed habits of the House within his 
personal recollection, Sir Thomas Erskine May told the 
present writer that he remembered the Speaker leaving 
the Chair, some time in the 'thirties, followed by the 
great majority of members, and proceeding in haste to 
the riverside in order to watch the race for Doggett's 
Coat and Badge as it passed by Westminster. There 
was then a pleasant garden, fringed with tall trees on the 
river bank, attached to the Speaker's house. 

The most memorable incident of Manners-Sutton's 
last Speakership was the destruction of the old Houses 
of Parliament by fire on 16 October, 1834. The Speaker 
was with his family at Brighton at the time, recuperating 
his energies after the fatigues of the session. Recalled 
by an express, he arrived in town the next morning to 
find the fiames still raging and his own house a smoking 
heap of ruins. Having witnessed the destruction of the 
whole Palace, with the exception of Westminster Hall, the 
Star Chamber, and a few unimportant exceptions, it was 
suggested to him that it was his duty to write to the 
King, informing him of the actual state of affairs, so far 
as it was in his power to form a judgment ; the more so 
as, by the gracious permission of the Crown, he was 
living in a portion of a royal palace. He waited upon 
the King at St. James's to discuss the expedients neces- 
sary to secure another place of meeting for the Parliament. 
William IV commanded him to survey Buckingham 
House and its gardens, with a view to the erection of a 
temporary building, and to take Blore, the royal archi- 
tect, with him. It is necessary to mention these facts 
because his interviews with the King at this period were 


later on made the foundation of a groundless charge 
against his conduct in the Chair. 

During the great fight to save Westminster Hall from 
the flames the Speaker's house was stripped of its 
contents, and even the furniture, china and mirrors, 
were thrown out of the windows. The official residence of 
Mr. Ley, the Clerk of the House, fared even worse, every- 
thing in it being destroyed, even to his wig and gown. 
It was one of the many misfortunes of that calamitous 
night that the tide was very low throughout the earlier 
hours of the conflagration, so that the floating fire- 
engines on the Thames were unable to render any ser- 
vice during the time when by their help the spread of 
the flames might have been checked. A strong south- 
west wind blew the fire into the heart of the ancient 
buildings, and added to the fears of the bystanders that 
the Great Hall would be destroyed. So great was the 
glare in the heavens that the King and Queen saw it at 
Windsor, twenty miles away. Thus perished in a single 
night the historic chamber replete with memories of 
Raleigh, Hampden, Coke, and Cromwell ; the arena in 
which Chatham delivered his immortal eloquence ; where 
Pulteney and Walpole, Pitt and Fox, Canning and 
Brougham, in turn confronted one another ; where 
Burke threw down the dagger, and Castlereagh walked 
proudly to his seat with the Treaty of Paris in his hand. 

" By the Clerk's table in that ancient chapel the brow 
of the boldest warrior had grown pale as he stood up to 
receive the thanks of the House and a grateful nation. 
There Blake and Marlborough, and that hero of a hun- 
dred fights, the Duke of Wellington, drank in the pealing 
applause which foreshadowed Westminster Abbey, and 


there the noblest sons of genius. Bacon, Newton, Addison, 
and Gibbon sat ' mute but not inglorious.' Its historic 
walls rang with the shout of triumph when the slave 
trade went down in its iniquity ; there Grattan poured 
forth his matchless eloquence, and Meredith and Romilly 
pleaded, against capital punishments, that criminals still 
were men." ^ 

After the fire it became necessary further to prorogue 
Parliament, and if ever a prorogation took place under 
difficulties it was this one, owing to the difficulty of find- 
ing any habitable room in the precincts of the Palace in 
which to perform the ceremony. An eye-witness of the 
scene wrote : — 

" The two Mr. Leys (the Clerk of the House and the 
second Clerk Assistant) called on Saturday. They de- 
sired Mr. Rickman to attend the Prorogation because 
they have lost their wigs, and Mr. William Ley says : 
' We shall follow you to the Bar in plain clothes, but 
where the Bar is to be we know not.' " 

When the Houses met again in 1835 it was in tem- 
porary chambers hastily improvised for the occasion. 
The House of Lords was installed in a room on the site 
of the Painted Chamber, and the Commons in an apart- 
ment to the south of Westminster Hall improvised out 
of the ruins of the House of Lords. Gladstone made 
his maiden speech in the old chapel of St. Stephen's, but 
Disraeli's " The time will come when you shall hear me " 
was uttered in the temporary building in use until 1852. 

After Lord Melbourne's summary dismissal by the 
King, 2 Sir Robert Peel undertook to form an administra- 

'■ Townsend's Memoirs of the House of Commons, 1844, Vol. II, 
p. 465. " In November, 1834. 


tion, and, though unsuccessful in obtaining a majority 
at the polls, he pluckily determined to face ParUament, 
and allowed it to be known that it was his intention 
once more to propose Manners-Sutton for the Chair. 
Grave charges were circulated against the late Speaker 
in the Press and on the platform, some of them un- 
doubtedly founded upon fact, whilst others were devoid 
of any solid foundation. For weeks before the date fixed 
for the opening of the session the newspapers were filled 
with arguments for and against Manners-Sutton's claim 
to the renewed confidence of the House. 

Great excitement prevailed as to the issue of the 
coming contest for the Chair, but Manners-Sutton 
waited patiently and submissively under imputations 
affecting his honesty and integrity until such time as he 
could refute them in his place. The gravamen of the 
accusations of his enemies was that, being Speaker, he 
had busied himself in the subversion of Lord Melbourne's 
Government, that he had assisted, with others,, in the 
formation of the new Cabinet, and that he had advised 
the dissolution of the late Parliament for party pur- 

Charles GreviUe, who, though he never entered Parlia- 
ment, was perhaps better informed than any man of his 
time as to the secret springs of poHtics, has left a vivid 
picture of the intense interest excited by the promulga- 
tion of these charges against the late Speaker. He 
made a book on the event, and having at first 
favoured the chances of Manners-Sutton, he eventually 
leant to the side of his opponent and made £55 by back- 
ing his opinion. 

On 19 February, 1835, the opening day of the session, 


Manners-Sutton replied to his accusers in the fullest 
House ever known. The first charge, he was able to 
show, grew out of the fact (alluded to on a previous 
page) that he had been commanded by the King to 
attend him during the autumn, and he read a letter 
which he had addressed to His Majesty proving that it had 
reference solely to the burning of the Houses of Parliament. 
To the second and graver charge he admitted that he 
had been in communication with the Duke of Wellington 
during Peel's absence abroad, and that, on the latter's 
return, he had paid him a visit at the Prime Minister's 
own request. The only other occasion on which he 
visited Peel was when he waited on him for the purpose 
of obtaining the sanction and signature of the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer, in order to make good the payment of 
the Clerks of the House. 

" He had never advised, had never suggested, never 
was in any way consulted, and he never knew of the 
appointment of any one individual member of the 
Government until after it had taken place. He admitted, 
however, that he did attend the meeting of the Privy 
Council after William IV had dismissed Lord Melbourne. 
So little did he know of the last charge, that of having 
counselled a dissolution, that he did not attend the 
meeting of the Privy Council from which the proclama- 
tion for dissolution emanated. 

" He was not at it, he was not summoned to it, he was 
never consulted with regard to it, he never had any- 
thing to do with the dissolution, and so little did he 
know of the steps that had been taken, that he did not 
even know it had been resolved upon, until he read it 
in the Gazette." 

Lord John Russell, in spite of these emphatic dis- 


claimers, insinuated that for Manners-Sutton to have 
attended any meeting of the Privy Council at such a 
juncture was conduct unbecoming the Speaker of the 
House of Commons. Versed as Lord John was in 
the dead lore of the Constitution, he quoted from 
speeches made by Sir Harbottle Grimston and Mr. 
Speaker Williams in the seventeenth century, with a 
view to showing that if Manners-Sutton was elected, 
and the majority of the House gave up its right 
for the sake of a compliment, they might say fare- 
well to the choosing of a Speaker for all time ; but, as 
Peel was quick to remark, Lord John must have selected 
his precedent when he thought that the charge of having 
counselled a dissolution could be proved, for the only 
part of his speech which extorted the faintest cheer 
from the House was that in which it was insinuated that, 
if he should be re-elected, the Speaker would do as he 
had done before. 

Although Manners-Sutton had completely vindicated 
himself, the combination of Whigs, Radicals, and the 
Irish members under Daniel O'ConneU carried the elec- 
tion of Abercromby, in the fuUest House ever known, 
by the narrow majority of ten votes. It cannot be said 
that the Whigs triumphed out of their turn, for they had 
not had a Speaker of their own political complexion since 
Arthur Onslow's distinguished rule. GrenviUe, though 
he came of a Whig stock, was a supporter of Pitt when 
called to the Chair in 1789, and to all intents and 
purposes a member of the Tory fold. 

" The great battle is over," wrote Greville on 20 Feb- 
ruary, " and the Government defeated by 316 to 306. 
Such a division never was known before in the House of 


Commons, and the accuracy of the calculations is really 
surprising. Mulgrave told me three days ago that they had 
317 people, which with the Teller makes the exact number. 
" Holmes went over the other list and made it 307, 
also correct. In the House so justly had they reckoned, 
that when the numbers first counted (306) were told to 
Duncannon in the lobby, he said : ' Then we shall win 
by 10.' Burdett and Cobbett went away, which with 
Tellers makes a total of 626 members in the House. All 
the Irish members voted but four, all the Scotch but 
three, and all the Enghsh but 25. The Irish and Scotch, 
in fact, made the majority." 

So disappeared Manners-Sutton from the Commons. 
He spoke but seldom in the House of Lords, though he 
lived for ten years after his ungenerous dismissal from 
the Chamber he had ruled so wisely and so well. 

The only Speaker who ever came from north of the 
Tweed was James Abercromby, third son of General Sir 
Ralph Abercromby. Nicknamed by Brougham " Young 
Cole," in contradistinction to Tierney, " Old Cole," he had 
sat in the House for over a quarter of a century without 
attracting much attention or making many enemies. 
Creevey, indeed, calls him, in 1809, " as artificial as the 
devil," and a few years later " factious and violent," but 
the censure seems to have been undeserved. His career 
in the Chair was not marked by any incidents calling 
for the display of those higher qualities by which the 
ofiice of Speaker acquires importance in emergencies. 
If he did not succeed in entirely repressing the tendency 
to disorder in the House which had grown up under the 
somewhat lax rule of Manners-Sutton in his later years, 
his impartiality was never called in question. His chief 
claim to remembrance rests upon his unremitting efforts 


to reform the conduct of the private business of the 

Before Abercromby's time the passage of a Private 
Bill through the Commons was attended with much 
jobbing and confusion, and he succeeded in placing some 
salutary restrictions upon the expenses attending the 
promotion of many useful measures of routine. On 
the occasion of his re-election, on 7 November, 1837, he 
was proposed by his successor in the Chair — Mr. Charles 
Shaw-Lefevre. Abercromby was treated with marked 
rudeness by WiUiam IV, who took every opportunity 
of showing his resentment at the treatment of Manners- 
Sutton in 1835, and his general distrust of the Whigs. 

" Tavistock told me a day or two ago that His Majesty's 
ministers are intolerably disgusted at his behaviour to 
them and his studied incivility to everybody connected 
with them. The other day the Speaker was treated by 
him with shocking rudeness at the drawing-room. 
He not only took no notice of him, but studiously over- 
looked him while he was standing opposite, and called 
up Manners-Sutton and somebody else to mark the 
difference by extreme graciousness to the latter. Sey- 
mour, who was with him as Serjeant-at-Arms, said he 
had never seen a Speaker so used in the five-and-twenty 
years he had been there, and that it was most painful. 
The Speaker asked him if he had ever seen a man in 
his situation so received at Court. 

" Since he has been Speaker the King has never taken 
the slightest notice of him. It is monstrous, equally 
undignified and foolish." ^ 

Speaker Abercromby, on his retirement in 1839, 
was created Lord Dunfermline, with a pension of £4000. 

* The Greville Memoirs, 15 July, 1835. 

Joliii J^^fk^on. A'. -/. 


1835. 1S37 
From a print 


There is a portrait of him in the collection at West- 
minster. He wrote a memoir of his father. Sir Ralph 
Abercromby, published, after Lord Dunfermline's death, 
in 1861. 

The first Lord Monteagle, Chancellor of the Exchequer 
in the Melbourne Administration,^ had set his heart on 
the Speaker's Chair, and when Abercromby informed 
Lord Melbourne of his wish to resign, the then Prime 
Minister virtually promised Spring-Rice the reversion 
of the place, but finding that he would not be accept- 
able to the Radicals, Mr. Shaw-Lefevre was preferred 
in order to maintain the unity of the party. With the 
appointment of the latter, in 1839, the evolution of 
the non-partisan Speaker was all but complete. Bom 
in London in February, 1794, the eldest son of a 
Hampshire squire, Shaw-Lefevre was predestined to 
become one of the most conspicuous successes in the 
Chair whom the House of Commons has ever known. 
His father, a man of tall and imposing figure, though 
of somewhat pompous manners, entered Parliament in 
1796, and elicited from Canning the somewhat malicious 
remark that " there are only two great men in the world. 
Shah Abbas and Shaw-Lefevre." After being educated 
at Winchester and at Trinity College, Cambridge, the 
son was destined for the Bar by his father. 

In 1819 he was admitted to Lincoln's Inn, but though 
by no means idle, his heart was in the healthy pursuits 
of a country gentleman rather than in the mysteries 
of the law. So keen a sportsman and so accomplished 
a shot did he become that his father once regretfully 
observed, " As for Charles, he is only fit to be a game- 

' Thomas Spring-Rice. 


keeper. ' ' After his father's death the young squire acquired 
a definite position in the county as a magistrate, a member 
of quarter sessions, and an officer of yeomanry. But 
he was perhaps even better known as the best shot in all 
that sporting county. In 1830, through the influence 
of a relative. Lord Radnor, he was put forward as the 
Whig candidate for the pocket borough of Downton, a seat 
which he soon exchanged^ for his own county of Hants. 
He attracted the favourable notice of Lord Althorp, 
who asked him to move the Address at the opening of 
the session of 1834. Like his father before him, Shaw- 
Lefevre applied himself to the study of the rules and 
practice of the House, and to those useful but modest 
labours on Committees, which do so much to train the 
mind of the young member. 

By 1837 his position was so far established that he was 
selected to propose Abercromby for re-election to the 
Chair. Two years later Abercromby suddenly retired, and 
Lord Eversley used, in after years, to relate how, stand- 
ing behind the chair surrounded by a group of county 
members, one of the number said to him, " Now, Lefeyre, 
we mean to have you as our Speaker." The friendly jest 
was found to express the general sentiment of the country 
gentlemen in the ministerial ranks. Ministers who had 
hitherto favoured the claims of Spring-Rice were forced 
to defer to the unmistakable desire of the bulk of their 
supporters. Nature had marked out Shaw-Lefevre as 
the fittest representative of an assembly of English 
gentlemen. His manly bearing, his handsome features 
and frank and open countenance commanded the ready 
confidence of men of his own class. 

' i.e. in 1831. 

yoJut Jackson, R.A. 

]l'm. U'ard, A.K.A., sculpt. 


1839, 184I, 1847, 1852 

Front a print 


On 27 May he was formally proposed for the Chair, 
though on this occasion his election was not allowed to 
pass unchallenged. Goulburn, the rival candidate, had 
had longer experience of the House, had held office 
under the Crown, and he was, moreover, proposed by 
the greatest living authority on Parliamentary lore,^ who 
had himself been spoken of as not unworthy to fill the post. 
In form and feature Goulburn presented an infehcitous 
contrast to his young rival, but, as usually happens in 
these contests, the ultimate verdict depended upon the 
relative strength of parties, and Shaw-Lefevre secured 
a majority of eighteen votes. 

From the first his conduct in the Chair won the approval 
of all parties. He could call unruly members to order with 
a smile which disarmed anger. He knew how to rule them 
without giving offence to their amour propre. But 
when he was compelled to exercise a sterner authority 
his manner could be both resolute and unbending. In 
his intercourse with men of all shades of opinion 
he displayed the genial humour of his healthy nature. 
When twenty members sprang to their feet at once, 
someone asked him how he contrived to single out his 
man. " Well," he rephed, " I have not been shooting 
rabbits all my life for nothing, and I have learnt 
to mark the right one." His firm rule was greatly 
needed in the stormy times of O'Connell's agitation for 
the repeal of the Union and during the great debates on 
the Com Laws. Re-elected unanimously in 1841,^ 1847, 

1 Mr. Williams Wynn. 

2 " The Tories were beginning to quarrel about the Speakership, 
some wanting to oust Lefevre, but the more sensible and moderate, 
with Peel and the leaders, desiring to keep him. The latter carried 


and 1852, he did not finally vacate the Chair he adorned 
until March, 1857. 

The Commons met, experimentally, in the present 
House on Thursday, 30 May, 1850 — whilst it was still 
in an unfinished state — in order to test the acoustic 
properties of the building. It might have been so utilised 
even sooner, but as no provision had been made for 
artificial warmth, and the season was an unusually cold 
one, it was deemed prudent to wait for a fine day. 
Mr. Speaker, accompanied by Sir Robert Peel, so soon 
to be snatched away from public life and usefulness, 
took the Chair at twelve o'clock, accompanied by 
upwards of 200 members. Hume, Cobden, and Bright 
were amongst those present, and below the Bar Hallam the 
historian and the architect Barry were provided with seats. 
The fittings of the House were still incomplete ; there 
was no stained glass in the windows, no heraldic decora- 
tion on the panels, and the benches were nothing but 
common deal and green baize knocked together with 
rough-and-ready haste. The primary idea of the archi- 
tect had been not to produce a great hall, in which 656 
gentlemen could lounge at their ease, but rather a com- 
pact house of business, in which 200 or 300 working 
members could enjoy reasonable facilities for transacting 
the public affairs. 

Mr. Wilson Patten was the first member to raise his 
voice in the new chamber, and Mr. Sullivan, an Irishman, 

their point without much difficulty. Peel wrote to four or five and 
twenty of his principal supporters and asked their opinions. All, 
except Lowther, concurred in not disturbing Lefevre, and he said 
that he would not oppose the opinions of the majority. So Peel wrote 
to Lefevre and gave him notice that he would not be displaced." 
(Greville Memoirs, lo August, 1841.) 


the first to present a petition. This was from the mayor 
and corporation of Kilkenny, " praying to be relieved 
from the odious tax of ministers' money." Mr. Glad- 
stone also spoke, and amongst those present on this 
historic occasion in the annals of Parliament may have 
been the veteran Earl of Wemyss, now in his ninety- 
second year, for he was then, as Lord Elcho, a member of 
the Lower House. Sir Robert Peel took a seat in the 
galleries, as well as on both sides of the floor, being 
anxious to ascertain the tone of voice which members 
who desired to be audible without being noisy should in 
future adopt. The experiment was not altogether satis- 
factory, as every one who could, members and strangers 
alike, entered into loud and earnest conversation with 
his neighbour. Many groups talked all at once ; in vain, 
therefore, did the orators of the assembly, who affected 
to debate the questions under consideration, strain their 
lungs to raise a shout which might be heard above, not 
the murmurs, but the roar of general conversation. One 
member, addressing the Speaker from the gallery, said 
that he did not know whether the Speaker could hear 
him, but this he knew — that he could not himself hear 
what was passing on the floor of the House. At three 
o'clock the Speaker proceeded to the old House of Lords, 
which had been used by the Commons as a temporary 
home since the fire, and finished the business of the day 
there. This was assuredly the only time in its history 
when the House has occupied two separate chambers on 
one and the same day. 

" Shaw-Lefevre was the best Speaker I ever knew," 
said Lord John Russell ; " when there was not a pre- 
cedent, he made one," adding, so as to prevent any 


further discussion, " according to the well-known prac- 
tice of the House," a formula which pleased everyone 
and permitted of no further discussion. This remarkable 
man maintained his vigour at an age when most men 
have retired from all outdoor pursuits. He bought a new 
pair of guns after he had passed his ninetieth birthday. 
He refused a pension of £2000 a year for two lives on 
the ground that he could not bear the thought of being 
a burden to posterity ; but he consented to accept £4000 
for his own life, and enjoyed it for over thirty years. 
Lord Eversley's portrait, by Sir Martin Shee, is at the 
Speaker's House. Up to 1839 every Speaker on taking 
office had been provided with an ample service of plate, 
but, on the motion of Hume, the most persistent 
economist the House has ever known, it was henceforth 
attached to the of&ce and no longer made personal to 
the holder. 

It is within the knowledge of the writer that Lord 
Palmerston consulted Delane and asked him informally 
to adjudicate upon the credentials of the various candi- 
dates for the Chair, and they were not few, when, in 1857, 
Mr. Shaw-Lefevre retired. The qualifications which 
the editor of The Times held to be essential were : 
(i) imperturbable good temper, tact, patience, and 
urbanity ; (2) a previous legal training, if possible ; 
(3) absence of bitter partisanship in his previous career ; 
{4) the possession of innate gentlemanly feelings which 
involuntarily command respect and deference ; (5) per- 
sonal dignity in voice and manner. To these indis- 
pensable requirements Delane might have added the 
importance of a sense of humour in the holder of the 
office, for many a delicate situation has been saved. 


especially in recent times, by the Speaker's possessing 
this precious gift of nature. 

It would be invidious to mention the names of other 
candidates on whose merits Delane was asked to pro- 
nounce. But he made no secret of his opinion that the 
fittest man to succeed Mr. Shaw-Lefevre was Mr. Evelyn 
Denison, who had sat in the House for more than thirty 
years, and whose experience of its procedure dated 
from before the passing of the great Reform Bill. 
In after years Speaker Denison occasionally wrote 
in The Times for Delane, and one of his contribu- 
tions to the paper was an article comparing the 
French legislative assembly with the English House 
of Commons. 

On 7 April Lord Palmerston wrote as follows : — 

" My dear Denison, 

" We wish to be allowed to propose you for the 
Speakership of the House of Commons. Will you agree ? " 

On the 30th of the same month he was unanimously 
chosen. The retiring Speaker, when asked if there was any 
one whom he could call to his assistance in a difficulty, said, 
" No one ; you must learn to rely entirely upon yourself." 
" I spent the first few years of my Speakership like 
the captain of a steamer on the Thames," Denison wrote 
in his interesting Journal,^ " standing on the paddle-box, 
ever on the look out for shocks and collisions. The House 
is always kind and indulgent, but it expects its Speakers 
to be right. If he should be found often tripping, his 

* First privately printed in 1900, and since re-issued for general 


authority would soon be at an end." Disraeli, in con- 
gratulating Denison on his re-election in 1859, spoke of 
him as combining in his person the purity of an English 
judge and the spirit of an English gentleman. 

He had a great admiration for Palmerston, and when 
he attended in state the opening of the International 
Exhibition of 1862 he bore witness to the great popu- 
larity which the veteran minister enjoyed with the 
people. On arriving at South Kensington, taking Lord 
Charles Russell, the Serjeant-at-Arms, and the mace and 
his train-bearer with him in his coach, the Speaker had 
to walk first in the procession ; but seeing the Prime 
Minister, he asked him to accompany him, when Palmer- 
ston replied, " No, the Speaker of the House should 
walk alone ; I will follow." And on Denison saying, 
" I should think it a great honour if we might pro- 
ceed together," they entered the building side by 

The moment Lord Palmerston came in sight shouts of 
welcome were raised : " Palmerston for ever ! " and so 
on throughout the whole building. One voice cried, " I 
wish you may be Minister for the next twenty years," at 
which Lord Taunton, who was standing by, drily re- 
marked, " Well, he would only then be a little more than 
a hundred ! " Some men, it has been frequently proved, 
reach the maturity of their intellect at twenty-one, and 
some, Uke Lord Palmerston, the typical statesman of the 
Victorian era, at seventy-one. 

Denison was in the Chair at the time of Lord Derby's 
and DisraeU's famous " leap in the dark " — the Reform 
Bill of 1867, the era from which pessimists date the de- 
clension of the usefulness of the Lower House, during the 





Jo^ipli :^/afa , ,<cll. 


1S57, l8S9, 1866, 1868 

F. L. Laves, icitlpt^ 


period of the fiercest strife between Gladstone and his 
great rival. He was Speaker when the former became 
the first Minister of the Crown, though he did not live 
to see Disraeli head a triumphant majority at the polls. 
Age and ill-health compelled him to resign in 1872, 
too late, indeed, for his own welfare, for the long-deferred 
rest did not restore his overtaxed strength, and he died 
early in the following year. He possessed in an eminent 
degree the qualities of tact, discrimination, and justice 
so essential to the successful performance of his duties, 
and when his epitaph came to be written in the columns 
of The Times, Delane did no more than justice to a 
friend of many years' standing in causing it to be said 
of him : — 

" As the House of Commons is the home where the 
English nature exhibits itself with the most absolute 
reality. Speaker Denison was the clear, unsullied mirror 
of that simple nobleness which we think Englishmen 
may claim as the ideal of our national character. Hence 
it was that he so exactly appreciated the feeling and 
disposition of the assembly over which he was called 
upon to preside, the sources to which he could look for 
aid, and the exact limits and sphere of his authority. 
He knew also that English gentlemen possessed, as he 
did, an unusual aptitude to conform to the spirit of 
traditionary law. He knew that hence he could rely for 
support on all who sat around him." ^ 

• It was Delane's practice periodically to revise the obituary notices 
of public men which he kept ready standing in type, " necrologies 
awaiting their victims," as he called them. He took them home with 
him and made additions and alterations within his personal knowledge, 
during the brief intervals of leisure which he permitted himself at 
Ascot Heath. In this way the admirably lucid biography of Disraeli, 
though not required until 1881, eighteen months after his own death, 
was mainly his own work. 


In view of recent occurrences affecting the relations 
of the two Houses, it may not be inappropriate to remark 
that when the House of Lords rejected the Bill for the 
repeal of the paper duty in May, i860, Speaker Denison 
denounced in energetic language a practice by which 
he considered that the Upper House indirectly infringed 
on the special function of the Commons — the grant of 
public money — as one calculated to break down the 
broad line of distinction between the duties and powers 
of the two Chambers. 

It often becomes the duty of the Speaker to decide, on 
the spur of the moment, what is and what is not a Par- 
liamentary expression. Mr. Denison was appealed to in 
1864 by Mr. Layard, then Under Secretary for Foreign 
Affairs, the House being in a very excited state at the 
time, to know whether it was competent for another 
member 1 to say that he had made " calumnious charges " 
against the Opposition. The Speaker said that he 
saw no ground for his intervention, whereon Mr. Glad- 
stone looked reproachfully at the Chair and urged 
Lord Palmerston to get up. The Prime Minister then 
rose and said that, in his opinion, the imputation 
of motives was hardly in order, and that the ex- 
pression used impUed motives. A long discussion 
ensued, in which Mr. Disraeli, amongst others, took part, 
but before the incident closed the Speaker was reminded 
by Mr. Otway that Mr. Layard, of all people, should re- 
member something about the use of the word " calum- 
nious " in the House, for he had been accused of making 
false and calumnious charges in the year 1845, and by 

"• Mr. Gathorne Hardy, afterwards Earl of Cranbrook. 


no other than the noble lord who had just spoken. And 
on Hansard being referred to, it appeared that though 
Lord Palmerston, at Mr. Gladstone's request, was pro- 
testing in 1864 against the use of the phrase, he had 
applied the very same words to charges made by the 
same Mr. Layard nearly twenty years before. Lord 
Eversley, on his attention being called to the expression, 
gave it as his opinion that " calumnious " was not a 
word to which exception could be taken. Since that 
date at least one Speaker has had constantly by his side 
for ready reference a list of admissible ParUamentary ex- 
pletives. From time to time new adjectives and nouns 
have to be adjudicated upon ; but it is within the dis- 
cretion of the Chair to determine how far they must be 
taken with the context and the circumstances of the 
moment, since it is quite possible for a word to be used 
in a manner calculated to give offence which, on another 
occasion, would pass without objection from any quarter 
of the House. 

It has sometimes been said that nearly every Parlia- 
mentary contingency which can possibly arise has had 
its antecedent parallel, and is accordingly governed by a 
precedent, so that a Speaker cannot go far astray in a 
decision if he be thoroughly acquainted with the forms and 
procedure of the House and the ruhngs of his predecessors. 
But this is no longer strictly accurate. Formerly it 
was customary to give the Speaker notice of questions 
on points of order, but of late years the occasions have 
been numerous when the most weighty decisions have been 
required to be taken by the Chair on its being suddenly 
confronted with an absolutely unprecedented situation. 
In the case of the last three occupants of the Chair 


these decisions have required, in addition to exceptional 
tact, firmness, and courage, the prompt exercise of that 
peculiar authority which the confidence and respect 
of the House at large can alone confer. It is no 
exaggeration to say that the difficulties which Speakers 
Shaw-Lefevre and Denison, both of them admittedly 
strong and able men, had to contend with have in- 
creased tenfold since their day of power, owing to 
a multiplicity of causes which have fundamentally 
changed the temper and spirit of the House of Commons. 
Within the last twenty years the control and initiative 
in legislation have gradually been passing from the House 
to the executive Government — in other words, to the 
Cabinet, or a committee of that body which usually 
dominates the Cabinet considered as a whole. 

Changes in the composition of the House, rendered 
inevitable by the " leap in the dark " of 1867, accen- 
tuated by Mr. Gladstone's Franchise Act of 1884 ; the 
claims of labour to separate representation and organi- 
sation successfully asserted in recent years ; the cate- 
gorical demand by a majority of the representatives of 
■Ireland for separation from the parent assembly, a de- 
mand annually restated, in spite of the abortive offers of 
settlement in 1886 and 1893 ; the formation of small 
subsidiary parties acting independently of the official 
whips ; the heavy strain of practically continuous ses- 
sions ; the altered rules of procedure all tending to en- 
hance the power of the Government of the day at the 
expense of the independent member ; and, lastly, the 
application of the closure at the discretion of the Chair — 
all these have increased the ever-growing responsibilities 
of the Speaker. 


When Speaker Denison presided over the House the 
practice of addressing questions to ministers was in its 
infancy, whereas at the present day the printed inter- 
rogatories to the Government on every conceivable topic 
of pubUc and private interest run into thousands in the 
course of a single session, to say nothing of those, often 
the most difficult to deal with, which are sprung upon 
the attention of the Chair without notice. Mr. Denison 
was the last Speaker to exercise his right of speak- 
ing and voting in Committee. He had no liking for 
the financial methods of Mr. Lowe, and on 9 June, 
1870, on a Budget proposal of the then Chancellor of 
the Exchequer, he formed one of a majority of four 
which inflicted a defeat on the Government. By a 
singular coincidence Mr. Speaker Abbot, who was 
strongly opposed to the removal of Catholic disabilities, 
carried an amendment in Committee in 1813 by the same 
narrow majority. The amendment was to omit the vital 
words " to sit and vote in either House of Parliament " 
from Grattan's Bill qualifying Roman Cathohcs for 
election as members of Parliament. 

The Speakers of the House of Commons have not, on 
the whole, been conspicuous for literary ability. The 
notorious Dudley, as has been mentioned on an earlier 
page, wrote the Tree of Commonwealth during his im- 
prisonment in the Tower. With this exception, a few 
volumes of law reports, of which the most notable example 
is that of Sir Edward Coke, and the writings of the great 
Sir Thomas More, whose Utopia will never die, are the only 
contributions to periodical literature emanating from the 
pen of a Speaker. Bulstrode Whitelocke was a pains- 
taking and accurate historian, and Harley was a successful 


pamphleteer before he became a minister of the Crown. 
Sir Thomas Hanmer was a conscientious Shakespearean 
critic, and his predecessor, Speaker Bromley, wrote an 
amusing volume of travels. But both in fiction and 
poetry the Chair is otherwise unrepresented. 

Speaker Denison, however, deserves to be remembered 
for his painstaking share in the field of BibUcal criticism, 
known to posterity as the Speaker's Commentary. So 
impressed was he with the necessity that existed for an 
explanation of the Bible in accordance with the spirit 
of the age in which he lived, and the scientific knowledge 
accumulated during the nineteenth century, that he in- 
duced Archbishop Thomson of York and over forty 
other scholars and Bibhcal students to engage in the 
production of what is still recognised as a valuable book 
of reference. The Archbishop wrote the historical in- 
troduction to the whole work, which Denison, unfortu- 
nately, did not live to see completed. 

On his retirement from the Chair in 1872, though he 
accepted a Peerage^ Mr. Denison refused to accept the 
customary pension of £4000. " Though without any pre- 
tensions to wealth," he wrote to Mr. Gladstone, " I have 
a private fortune which will suffice, and for the few years 
of Ufe which remain to me I should be happier in feeling 
that I am not a burden to my fellow-countrymen." 
There is a portrait of Lord Ossington, by Sir Francis 
Grant, in the Speaker's House. The official residence at 
Westminster was first occupied by him, and his coat of 
arms is sculptured over the entrance doorway in Speaker's 

' An honour conferred on every Speaker since Lord Colchester. The 
title which he selected was that of Viscount Ossington. 


Having now reached a period in the history of the 
Speaker's office within the memory of many still hving, it 
will be unnecessary to recapitulate facts which are within 
the knowledge of all who have studied the history of 
ParUament and parties during the last half-century* 
In treating of Mr. Speaker Denison's successors it 
would be unbecoming in one who, like the present writer, 
entered the service of the House of Commons when Mr. 
Speaker Brand still sat in the Chair, to consider in detail 
the political aspect of questions which await the im- 
partial verdict of a later age — questions, moreover, which 
are apt to assume such a totally different complexion 
when viewed from the Government or from the Oppo- 
sition benches. 

When the inflammable and ephemeral matter which 
feeds the fires of debate has utterly burnt out, and when 
the sound and fury with which every step of political 
progress is wont to be discussed has been extinguished 
by the merciful hand of time, those who dwell on the 
fertile soU formed by those volcanic upheavals will be 
in a better position to appraise the ability and boldness, 
the success or failure, of rival English statesmen, and to 
recognise at their true value causes which agitated the 
length and breadth of the Kingdom whilst they were in 
the making. 

Mr. Brand was three times unanimously called to the 
Chair, and will be long remembered for his coup d'etat 
of February, 1881, when, after a sitting of nearly thirty 
hours, he declared the state of business to be so urgent as 
to justify him in summarily closing the debate. The story 
is told at length by Lord Morley in his Life of Gladstone. 
During this and the following session urgency resolu- 


tions were agreed to by the House, by which its powers 
could, in respect of a particular Bill, be vested in the 
Speaker, who accordingly laid rules upon the table pre- 
scribing the manner in which the Bill should be dealt 
with. At the same time obstruction was checked by 
the power given to the Speaker to put the question, 
"That the question be now put." If this question 
was agreed to in a House of not less than 200 
members, the question was put forthwith without 
further debate. 

Speaker Brand was reputed to have the best French 
cook in London, Cost by name. The title was dis- 
puted by Beguinot, successively chef to Lord Granville 
and his brother, Mr. F. Leveson-Gower, and by Mr. 
Russell Sturgis's cordon bleu. The first of them said 
" nous sommes trois," and opinions still vary as to 
their respective merits. Mr. Brand was a man of slight 
stature, with the fresh pink of a winter apple in his 
cheeks, of remarkable dignity, and sound judgment, and, 
though DisraeU was sceptical at the time of his appoint- 
ment as to the expediency of promoting a former whip, 
his retirement, in 1884, was received with real regret by 
the majority of the House. Mr. Brand was once asked 
if in his long experience of Parliamentary life he had 
ever known or heard of money passing for the vote of a 
member. He said : " No, never. The nearest approach 
to it I have ever known was the finding of a suit of 
clothes for an M.P. who stated that without them he 
would be unable to attend the House at a critical 

Of his successor, Mr. Arthur Wellesley Peel, the worthy 

, ^ Recollections of Sir Algernon West. 


1872, 1874, 1880 

From an engraving in the possession of the Serjeant-at-Arnts after F. Sargent 


inheritor of an illustrious Parliamentary name, it will be 
unnecessary to say more at present than that he main- 
tained to the full the high traditions of the Chair during 
a period of unexampled difficulty. Such was his command 
of the House that the mere rustle of his robes, as he rose 
to rebuke a breach of order, was sufficient to awe the 
most unruly member into prompt submission to his 
ruling. 1 

Mr. Speaker Brand's tenure of office will always be re- 
garded as a landmark in the history of Parliamentary 
institutions, if only for the great change adopted by the 
House in entrusting the Chair with the power of closure 
by a bare majority, a necessary change which, more than 
any other, has tended to aggrandise the power of the 
Government of the day, though with acorresponding decline 
in the usefulness and efficiency of the private member.^ 

In 1887, under Mr. Speaker Peel, the Chair was relieved 
of the initial responsibility for the closure. Power was 
then conferred upon any member to move that the ques- 
tion be now put, the Chair being directed to put such 
question forthwith, unless the rights of the minority 
seemed to him to be infringed or the rules of the House 
abused. One hundred members must now vote in the 
majority to make the motion effective. When the 
motion for closure has been carried, and the question on 

' Mr. Gladstone had offered the post, in the first instance, to the 
late Lord Goschen, who felt himself obliged to decline the honour on 
account of defective eyesight. 

2 The principle of closure of debate, first adopted in 1882, was 
never actually put in practice until February, 1885, when Mr. Speaker 
Peel was in the Chair. In March, i888, the Chair was invested with 
increased powers for maintaining order and checking irrelevancy in 
debate, while a fixed hour for the adjournment of the House, subject 
to certain exceptions, was also agreed to. 


which it has been moved has been decided, any question 
already proposed from the Chair may be put forthwith 
without a further closure motion. 

Another innovation designed to facilitate the despatch 
of business has been the passing of Orders regulating 
the procedure on certain stages of Bills. These have 
differed from one another in their scope and severity, 
but their general object has been to fix the time at which 
certain stages or parts of a stage should be brought to 
a conclusion, and to provide a special form of procedure 
for the summary disposal of that part of the stage which 
has not been concluded at the prescribed time. As a 
rule, the " guillotine," as it has come to be called, has 
taken the form of directing the Chair to put at a pre- 
scribed hour the question then under discussion, and to 
put any questions necessary to dispose of the allotted 
portion or stage of the Bill without debate, and when 
amendments are admissible, to put the question only on 
amendments moved by the Government. Since 1887 
this procedure has been adopted occasionally in order 
to dispose of the necessary supply before the close of 
the financial year. 

Mr. Speaker Peel ^ during his whole term of office kept 
a diary, which it is to be hoped will one day be given 
to the world, far exceeding, as it does, in interest similar 
journals kept by Speaker Denison and Speaker Abbot. 
From his entry into Parliament, in 1865, Mr. Peel 
familiarised himself with the features and idiosyncrasies 
of the members over whom he was one day to be called 
upon to preside. On one occasion, he told the present 
writer, he was asked by Mr. Gladstone if he could 

1 Now Viscount Peel of Sandy, Beds. 

Loudon Stfreoscopic Co. 

1884, 1886 (2), 1892 


tell him the name of a gentleman who had walked 
into the House and seated himself on the front Opposi- 
tion bench. For once he was at fault, and, as neither 
the Speaker, '^ on being applied to, nor the doorkeepers 
could solve the mystery, a messenger was sent to 
the intruder to ask his name. It transpired that 
he had mistaken the House of Commons for the 
House of Lords (to which assembly he was an in- 
frequent visitor), and had imagined that he was 
sitting amongst his peers. Mr. Gladstone, whose 
eagle eye had at once spotted an unfamiUar face, re- 
marked to Mr. Peel that he should have thought the 
colour of the benches might have suggested to him 
that he had taken the wrong turning from the Central 
HaU. An elaboration of this anecdote, for which, how- 
ever, we do not vouch, was to the effect that, after 
listening for some time to the debate, the intruder 
asked his neighbour, in perfect good faith, whether the 
noble lord who was addressing the House was Lord 
Salisbury ! 

Mr. Peel was in the seat of power all through the 
period of the dynamite outrages which disgraced London 
and baffled the police in 1884. Once word was brought 
to him that a desperado, disguised as a woman, had 
obtained admission to the ladies' gallery immediately 
above his head, no doubt with the intention of hurling 
a bomb into the crowded chamber. But fortunately the 
necessary courage was lacking, and no outrage took 
place, though it was not without a feeling of relief that 
the Speaker put the question " That this House do now 

^ Then Mr. Denison. 


adjourn " at the conclusion of an anxious sitting. 
A propos of the reign of terror, the present writer has 
excellent reasons for remembering the dastardly outrage 
in Westminster Hall on 24 January, 1885, when a bomb 
was placed on the staircase leading to the crypt by a 
miscreant who deliberately chose a Saturday for his 
fiendish purpose, when the Houses of Parliament are 
usually thronged with visitors. The writer walked 
through the Hall a few minutes before the per- 
petration of the outrage, returning later on to find 
every pane of glass blown out of the great stained 
window by the terrific force of the explosion, and the 
Hall itself smoking from end to end with the dust of ages 
which had been shaken from its rafters. 

Of Mr. Speaker Gully it would be unbecoming to speak 
at any length, owing to his recent untimely decease. 
Recommended to the attention of the Government in 
the first instance by the late Lord Herschell, his election 
to the Chair on April 10, 1895, was the closest contest 
of the kind ever known, with the exceptions of Harley 
in December, 1710, and Abefcromby in 1835. Whereas 
Abercromby was successful by ten votes, Mr. Gully 
received only eleven more than Sir Matthew White- 
Ridley in 1895. By his winning maimer and unfailing 
courtesy he gained the respect and affection of every 
quarter of the House during the ten years in which he 
filled the Chair. In August, 1895, and December, 1900, 
his re-election was unanimous, nor was he again put to the 
trouble of a contest at the latter appeal to the country. 

There can be no indiscretion in mentioning in these 
pages that, on the occasion of Mr. Gully's promotion, 

Russell & Sons 

1895 (2), 1900 


the late Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman would have 
liked to succeed Mr. Peel ; but it may not be generally 
known that, though he was fortified by the opinion of 
Mr. Gladstone to the effect that ample precedent existed 
for his projected transference from the ministerial bench, 
the then ruling powers in the Cabinet thought otherwise, 
with the result that he stood aside, to attain, in after 
years, an even more strenuous position in the State. 
With the advent of Mr. James William Lowther to 
the Chair of the House of Commons in June, 1905, 
exactly six hundred years after a member of his family 
sat as Knight of the Shire for Westmorland,^ this record 
perforce ceases, to be taken up hereafter, it may be, by 
some more skilful hand. 

Politicians and parties may come and go, changes 
may, and must, occur in the aims and aspirations of the 
democracy of England, which will affect the relations of 
the House of Commons towards the parent assembly; but 
the Speaker's office, unfettered by the exigencies of party, 
and administered in the lofty and impartial spirit which 
has characterised the later years of its existence, will 
endure as long as the Constitution itself. 

Tradition binds the Commons together with amazing 
strength, and so long as the peculiar and essential func- 
tions of the Chair, in ruling by general consent rather 
than by compulsion, in upholding freedom of speech 
without ever allowing it to degenerate into licence, are 
adhered to by the successors of the great Englishmen 
whose names have been recorded in these inade- 
quate pages, it is safe to predict that the proud heritage 
of seven centuries of hberty and progress will be handed 

1 XXXIII Edward I, 1305. 


on unimpaired to many future generations of a free and 
self-governing nation. 

In bidding farewell to Westminster and to the " well- 
ordered inheritance " of the Speaker's Chair, it only 
remains to add those two words so familiar and so dear 
to all of Eton's sons — 


Jijtsseii -i^ :to. 

1905, 1906, I9IO, 191I 




XLII Henry III, ii 
June, 1258, at Ox- 
ford. The " Mad 
Parliament " 

Speaker or other 
Presiding Officer 

Peter de 



Register Book 
of St. Alban, 
Cottonian 1,1- 
brary, British 
now illegible 
through dam- 
age by fire. 
Hake w i 1 , 
1641, p. 106 

Date of 

XX Edward II, and WilliamTrusseU Styled Procura- 

27th Parliament 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster 
7 January, 1326-7 

tor of Parlia- 
ment inHenry 
of Knighton's 
chronicle con- 
taine d in 
T wy sden's 
Decern Scrip- 

VI Edward III, and Henry 

loth Parliament Beaumont 

summoned to meet 

at Westminster, 16 

March, 1331-2, " Le 

lundi prechein apres 

la Feste de Seint 


Browne - Willis, 
and Rot.Parl., 
Vol. II, p. 64 

VI Edward III, and 
nth Parliament 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 9 
September, 1332, 
" Le Lendemayn de 
la Nativity N" 
Dame " 

Sir Geoffrey 

Le Scrape 

Rot. Pari.. Vol. 
II, p. 6$ 


Close of Office Constituency Rank or Style Remarks 

Said to have consented 
" vice totius com- 
munitatis " to the 
banishment of Ay- 
mer de Valence, 
1259-60. (?) Died 
1287. Owned the 
manor house of II- 
mington, Warwick- 
shire, where traces of 
work remain. 

One of this name was 
Knight of the Shire 
for Leicester in 
1314. Buried in 
Westminster Abbey, 
circa 1346 

" Lesqueux Comtes 
Barouns & autres 
Grantz puis revin- 
drent & repondir- 
ent touz au Roi par 
la bouche [de] Mons' 
Henri de Beau- 
mont " 

Probably the same man 
who was Chief Jus- 
tice of the King's 
Bench from 1324 to 

1338, and Secretary 
to Edward III in 

1339. He was a 
Trier of Petitions as 
early as 1320. These 
important officials 
are first heard of in 
1304. Rot. Pari., 
Vol. I, p. 1 59. Le 
Scrope died in 1 340 


speaker or other Date of 

Parliament Presiding Officer Authority Appointment 

XIV Edward III, and WilliamTrussell Rot. Pari., Vol. 
26th Parliament again II, p. 118 
summoned to meet 

at Westminster, 29 
March, 1340. " Au- 
jour de meskerdy 
prochein apres la 
fast de la Translation 
de Seint Thomas le 
Martir " 

XV Edward III, 1341 

XVII Edward III, and WilliamTrussell Rot. Pari., Vol. 
30th Parliament again II, p. 136 

summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 28 
April, 1343. "A la 
quinzeme de Pask " 

XXI Edward III, 1347 William de Elsynge, Rot. 

Thorpe Pari., Vol. II, 

XXII Edward III, William de Elsynge and i?o/. 

1348 Thorpe again Pari., Vol. II, 

p. 200 



Close of Office Constituency 

Rank or Style 


Announced a naval 
victory to the Com- 
mons and undertook 
to raise wools for the 
King's aid. "Apres 
grand trete & par- 
lance eue entre les 
Grantz & les dits 
Chivalers & autre 
les Communes " 

" Les ditz Grantz & 
autres de la Com- 
mune qu ils se trais- 
sent ensemble, & 
s'avisent entre eux 
c'est assaver les 
grantz de p. eux & 
les Chivalers des 
Counteez & Burgeys 
de p. eux " 

" Et puis vindrent les 
Chivalers de Coun- 
teez et les Com- 
munes & responder- 
ent p' Mons' William 
Trussell [to a com- 
munication from the 
Pope]. The Com- 
mons met in the 
Chambre Depeint or 
Painted Chamber 
and the Lords in the 
Chambre Blanche 

Chief Justice 

Baron of the 

Elsynge considered that 
the Chief Justice 
habitually acted as 
Speaker temp.%'EA- 
ward III, though 
the cause of sum- 
mons was occa- 
sionally delivered by 
the Chancellor. 
Thorpe was a Trier 
of English and Irish 
Petitions in 1346 



XXV Edward III, and 
36th Parliament 
summoned to meet at 
Westminster, 9 Feb 
ruary, 1350-51 

Speaker or other 
Presiding Officer 

William de 



Rot. Pari., Vol. 
II, p. 226 

Date of 

XXV Edward III, and 
37th Parliament 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 1 3 
January, 1351-52 

William de 


Rot. Pari., Vol. 
II, p. 237 

In 1354 William de Shareshull again declared the cause of summons, and 
in 1355 he stated that the King was pleased to command the cause to be 
delivered by Monsieur Walter de Manny, " overtement a totes gentz." 

In 1362 the cause of summons was delivered by Monsieur Henry Green 
in English. 

' In 1363 Sir Henry Green, Chief Justice, told the Parliament in English (in 
the Painted Chamber) that the King was ready to begin his Parliament, 
but the cause of summons was subsequently delivered by the Bishop of Ely. 

In 1372 the Chancellor, John Knyvet (in the Painted Chamber), and the 
next day Sir Guy Brian (in the Chambre Blanche), "more particularly," 
declared the cause of summons. 

L Edward III, 55th 
Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 28 
April, 1376 

The Chancellor, 
John Knyvet, 
the cause of 



Close of Office Constituency 

Rank or Style 

Chief Justice 

Chief Justice 


Pronounced the cause 
of summons to Par- 
liament and consid- 
ered by Elsynge to 
have acted as 
Speaker. He was a 
Trier of Petitions 
from Flanders in 

The Commons now 
meet in the Chapter 
House of the Abbey. 
The Lords in the 
Chambre Blanche. 
" Et q le remenant 
des Communes se 
trahissent el Chapitre 
de Westminster." (A 
committee of the 

Rot.Parl.y ol. II, p. 237 

So early as 1347 Walter 
de Manny had been 
a Trier of Petitions 

In 1 3 54 Green acted as 
a Trier of Petitions 
for England 

Chancellor of 

Died 1 38 1. As early as 
1362 Knyvet had 
been a Trier of Peti- 
tions for foreign 
parts, whilst Brian 
acted in a similar 
capacity for England 
in 1354 

In this Parliament the 
Commons were under 
the leadership of Sir 
Peter de la Mare, 
though there is no 
mention in the Rolls 
of his having been 
formally elected to 
the chair. 



LI Edward III, and 
56th Parliament 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 27 
January, 1376-77; 
sat till 2 March 



Date of 

Sir Thomas Rot. Pari., Vol. January, 1376-7 

Hungerford II, p. 374 

I Richard II, and ist 
Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 13 Oc- 
tober, 1377 

Sir Peter de la Rot. Pari., Vol. October, 1377 
Mare III, p. 5 

II Richard II, and 2nd Sir James 
Parliament sum- Pickering 
moned to meet at 
Gloucester, 20 Oc- 
tober, 1378 

Rot. Pari., Vol. 22 October, 1378 
HI- p. 34 

III Richard II, and Sir John Rot. Pari., Vol. January, 1379- 

4th Parliament sum- Guildesborough III, p. 73 80 

moned to meet at 
Westminster, 16 
January, 1379-80 

Sir John Rot. Pari., Vol. November, 1380 

Guildesborough III, p. 89 

Sir Richard 

Rot. Pari., Vol. 
Ill, p. 100 

3 November, 

IV Richard II, and 
5th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Northampton, s No- 
vember, 1380 

V Richard II, and 
6th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 16 Sep- 
tember, 1381, and 
his prorogation, 
3 November, 1381 

VI Richard II, and Sir James Pick- Rot. Pari., Vol. 23 February, 
9th Parliament sum- ering again III, p. 145 1382-83 
moned to meet at 

Westminster, 23 Feb- 
ruary, 1382-83 



Close of Office Constituency 

2 Maxch, 1376-7 Wats 

Rank or Style 

28 Nov., 1377 Hereford 


Died 1398 and was 
buried at Farleigh 
Hungerford, in the 
county of Somerset. 
Described in the 
Rolls as the " Chi- 
valer qi avoit les 
paroles pur les Com- 
munes d'Engleterre 
en cest Parlement " 

16 Nov., 1378 Westmorland 

See also 1382-83 

3 Mar., 1379-80 Essex 

Sometimes erroneously 
called Goldes- 
borough, but he does 
not appear to have 
been related to the 
Yorkshire family of 
that name 

6 Dec, 1380 Essex 

25 Feb., 1 38 1-2 SuflEolk 

Died 1402. Waldegrave 
may also have been 
Speaker in the two 
next Parliaments, 
but the Rolls are de- 
fective at this period 

10 Mar., 1382-3 Yorkshire 

He sat in ParUament 
altogether for thirty- 
five years 





Date of 

From 1383 to 1393 the Rolls of Parliament are defective, and it is not 
definitely known who was Speaker in Richard II's loth, nth, 12th, 13th, 
14th, isth, i6th, 17th, i8th, 19th, 20th, or 21st Parliament ; but as Sir 
James Pickering sat for Yorkshire in 1384, 1388, 1389-90, and 1390, he 
probably acted as Speaker in one or more of them. 

XVII Richard II, and Sir John Bussy Rot. Pari., Vol. 
22nd Parliament III, p. 310 

summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 27 
January, 1393-94 

28 Jan., 1 393-94 

XVIII Richard II, and 
23rd Parliament 
suipmoned to meet 
at Westminster, 27 
January, 1394-95. 
Sat till IS February. 

Probably Bussy 
again Speak- 
er, though not 
mentioned in 
the Rolls 

XX Richard II, and 
24th Parliament 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 22 
January, 1396-97 

XXI Richard II, and 
"2Sth Parliament 

summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 17 
September, 1397, 
and adjourned to 
Shrewsbury, 27 Jan- 
uary, 1397-98, and 
sat till 31 January, 
when it resigned its 
authority to a Com- 
mittee of 18, 12 
peers and 6 com- 
moners, of whom the 
Speaker was one 

Sir John Bussy 

Sir John Bussy 

Rot. Pari., Vol. 
ni, p. 338 

Rot. Pari., Vol. 
Ill, p. 357 

22 Jan., 1 396-97 

17 Sept., 1397 

Close of Office 




Rank or Style 

6 Mar., 1393-94 Lincolnshire 

12 February, 



VII Richard II, 1384. 
The Commons are 
directed to choose a 
Speaker : "la per- 
sonne qi'auroit les 
paroles en cest Par- 
lement pur la Coe." 
The cause of sum- 
mons was delivered 
by Mons' Michel de 
la Pole, Chancellor 

Beheaded 29 July, 
1399. He lived at 
H o u g h a m , near 
Grantham, and 
several memorials of 
his family remain in 
the parish church. 
Styled " Commune 
Parlour" in the Rolls 

The Commons were 
charged by the Chan- 
cellor to assemble 
either in the Chapter 
House or the Refec- 
tory of Westminster, 
to choose a Speaker 
{Rot. Pari., Vol. Ill, 
P- 329) 

31 Jan., 1397-8 Lincolnshire 



XXIII Richard II, and 
26th Parliament, 
met 30 September, 
1399. but sat only- 
one day to depose 
the King 

None chosen 


Date of 

I Henry IV, and ist Sir John Cheyne Rot. Pari., Vol. 14 October, 1399 
Parliament, met at or Cheney III, p. 424 

Westminster, 6 Oc- 
tober, 1399 


John Dorewood Rot. Pari., Vol. 15 October, 1399 
III, p. 424 

II Henry IV, and 
2nd Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
York, 27 October, 
1400, and by proro- 
gation at Westmin- 
ster, 20 January, 
1 400- 1. [The cause 
of summons was, 
however, still de- 
clared by the Chief 
Justice, Sir William 

Sir Arnold 


Rot. Pari., Vol. 
ni, p. 455 

21 Jan., 1400-1 

III Henry IV, and 
3rd Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 30 Jan- 
uary, 1401-02 

III Henry IV, and 4th 
Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster (in the 
Painted Chamber), 
15 September, 1402, 
and by prorogation 
on 30 September 

Sir Henry Red' 

Rot. Pari., Vol. 
Ill, p. 486 

3 October, 1402 

Close of Office 




Rank or Style 


Filled the Chair Gloucestershire 
for only two 

19 Nov., 1399 Essex 

(Not'mentioned in the 
D.N.B.) Hakewil 
makes him Speaker 
again in 1405-6, but 
this is inaccurate. 
He was still living in 

See also 141 3 

10 March, Kent 


Again Speaker in 
1403-4, and died in 
1410. Memorial 
brass in Bobbing 
Church, Kent 

Possibly Savage was 
again Speaker, but 
the Rolls do not 
mention him at this 

25 Nov., 1402 Lincolnshire 

Died circa 1404. He 
owned lands at Hey- 
ling, Lincolnshire 

2 A 




V Henry IV, and sth Sir Arnold Sa- 

vage again 

Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Coventry, 3 Decem- 
ber, 1403, and actu- 
ally met there, and 
at Westminster, after 
prorogation, 14 Jan- 
uary, 1403-04 

VI Henry IV, and 6th Sir William 
Parliament sum- Sturmy, or 
moned to meet at Esturmy 
Coventry, 6 October, 


Rot. Pari., Vol. 
HI, P- 523 

Date of 

IS Jan., 1403-4 

Rot. Pari., Vol. 7 October, 1404 
HI, p. 546 

VII Henry IV, and 7th Sir John Tiptoft Rot. Pari., Vol. 2 March, 1405-6 
Parliament sum- III, p. 568 

moned to meet at 
Coventry, 15 Febru- 
ary 1405-06 (after- 
wards at Gloucester), 
and, after proroga- 
tion, met at West- 
minster, I March, 

IX Henry IV, and Thomas Rot. Pari., Vol. 25 October,i407 

Sth Parliament sum- Chaucer III, p. 609 

moned to meet at 
Gloucester, 20 Oc- 
tober, 1407 

XI Henry IV, and Thomas Rot. Pari., Vol. 28 Jan., 1409-10 

9th Parliament sum- Chaucer III, p. 623 

moned to meet at again 
Westminster, 27 Jan- 
uary, 1409-10 

XIII Henry IV, and Thomas Rot. Pari., VoL S Nov., 2411 

loth Parliament Chaucer III, p. 648 

summoned to meet again 
at Westminster, 
3 November, 141 1 



Close of Office 

C. lo April, 


Rank or Style 

Died 1410 

14 November, 


" Parliamentum indoc- 
torum " or Lajrmen's 

22 December, Huntingdon- Baron Tiptoft 
1406 shire 1426 

The first Speaker to be 
raised to the Peerage. 
Died 1443 

3 December, Oxfordshire 


9 May, 1 4 10 Oxfordshire 

Believed to be son of 
the poet. Died 1434. 
Buried at Ewelme, 
Oxon. The Commons 
were directed to as- 
semble in the Fratry 
of the Abbey at 
eight o'clock 

19 December, Oxfordshire 
141 1 

The King, in replying 
to the Speaker's ex- 
cuse on presentation 
for the royal accept- 
ance, said : " Qar il 
ne vorroit aucune- 
ment avoir nulle 
en cest Parlement" 



XIV Henry IV, and 
nth Parliament 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 3 
February, 1412-13 


Speaker un- 


Date of 

I Henry V, and ist William Stour- Rot. Pari., Vol. 18 May, 1413 
Parliament sum- ton. " Gisoit IV, pp. 4, 5 
moned to meet at cy malades en 

son lyt qu'il 

ne purroit 

pluis outre 

entendre d'oc- 

cupier le dit 

oflBce de Par- 

Westminster, 14 May 


John Dorewood Rot. Pari., Vol. 3 June, 141 3 
again IV, p. 5 

II Henry V, and 2nd Sir Walter Hun- Rot. Pari., Vol. i May, 1414 
Parliament sum- gerford IV, p. 16 

moned to meet at 
Leicester, 30 April, 

II Henry V, and 3rd Thomas Rot. Pari., Vol. 19 Nov., 1414 

Parliament sum- Chaucer IV, p. 35 

moned to meet at again 
Westminster, 19 No- 
vember, 1414 

III Henry V, and 
4th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 21 Oct., 
141S, and, by pro- 
rogation, on 4 Nov. 

Richard Red- 
man, or Red- 

Rot. Pari., Vol. 
IV, p. 63 

5 Nov., 1415 

III Henry V, and 
5th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 16 Mar. 

Sir Walter 


Rot. Pari., Vol. 
IV, p. 71 

18 Mar., 1415-16 


Close of Office Constituency Rank or Style Remarks 

3 June, 1413 Dorset (?) Died 141 7. Ancestor 

of Baron Stourton 

9 June, 1413 Essex 

29 May, 1414 Wats Baron Hunger- Son of Sir Thomas 

ford, 1425-26 Hungerford (Speaker 
in 1377), died 1449, 
and was buried in 
Salisbury Cathedral 

Date of dissolu- Oxfordshire 
tion not as- 

Sat less than a Yorkshire Died 1426 


May, 141 6 Wiltshire Styled " Prolocutor " 





Date of 

IV Henry V, a.hd 6th Roger Flower 
Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 19 Oc- 
tober 1416 

V Henry V, and 7th Roger Flower 
Parliament sum- again 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 16 No- 
vember, 1417 

VII Henry V, and Roger Flower 
8th Parliament sum- again 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 16 Oc- 
tober, 1419 

VIII Henry V, and Roger Hunt 
9th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 2 Dec, 


Rot. Pari., Vol. October, 14 16 
IV, p. 95 

Rot. Pari., Vol. November, 14 17 
IV, p. 107 

Rot. Pari., Vol. October, 1419 
IV, p. 117 

Rot. Pari., Vol. 4 Dec, 1420 
IV, p. 123 

IX Henry V, and Thomas 

loth Parliament 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 2 
May, 1 42 1 

Rot. Pari., Vol. May, 1421 


Chaucer IV, p. 1 30 

IX Henry V. and Richard Rot. Pari., Vol. 

nth Parliament Baynard IV, p. 151 

summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 
I December, 142 1 

3 Decemberi42i 

I Henry VI, and ist Roger Flower 
Parliament sum- again 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 9 Nov., 

Rot. Pari., Vol. 11 Nov., 1422 
IV, p. 170 

II Henry VI, and Sir John Russell Rot. Pari., Vol. 21 Oct., 1423 

2nd Parliament sum 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 20 Oc- 
tober, 1423 

IV, p. 198 


Close of Office Constituency Rank or Style Remarks 

i8 November, Rutland Died 1428 


17 December, Rutland 

November, 1419 Rutland 


Date of close Bedfordshire 
of this Parlia- 
ment unascer- 

Date of close Oxfordshire 
of Parliament 

Date of close Essex 
of Parliament 

Omitted by Hakewil at 
this date. An'eminent 
lawyer and a Baron 
of the Exchequer. 
Memorial brass dated 
1473 at Gt. Linford, 
Bucks, may represent 
him or his son 

First to be five times 
Speaker. Died 1434 
and was buried at 
Ewelme, Oxfordshire, 
where his monument 
and brciss remain 

(Not mentioned in Dic- 
tionary of National 

18 December, Rutland 

28 February, Herefordshire 




III Henry VI, and Sir Thomas 
3rd Parliament Walton, or 
summoned to meet Wauton 

at Westminster, 
30 April, 1425 

IV Henry VI, and Sir Richard 
4th Parliament sum- Vernon 
moned to meet at 
Leicester, 18 Febru- 
ary, 1425-26 


Date of 

Rot. Pari., Vol. 2 May, 1425 
IV, p. 262 

Rot. Pari., Vol. 28 Feb., 1425-26 
IV, p. 296 

VI Henry VI, and Sir John Tyrrell Rot. Pari., \o\, 15 October, 1427 
5 th Parliament sum- IV, p. 317 

moned to meet at 
Westminster, 13 Oc- 
tober, 1427 

VIII Henry VI, and William Aling- Rot. Pari, Vol. 23 Sept., 1429 
6th Parliament sum- ton IV, p. 336 

moned to meet at 
Westminster, 22 Sep- 
tember, 1429 

IX Henry VI, and 
7th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 12 Jan- 
uary, 1430-31 

Sir John Tyrrell 

Rot. Pari., Vol. 
IV, p. 368 

13 Jan., 1430-31 

X Henry VI, and 
8th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 1 2 May, 

Sir John Russell 

Rot. Pari., Vol. 
IV, p. 389 

14 May, 1432 

XI Henry VI, and 
9th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 8 July, 

Roger Hunt 

Rot. Pari., Vol. 
IV, p. 420 

10 July, 1433 

XIV Henry VI, and John Bowes 
10th Parliament 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 10 
October, 1435 

Rot. Pari., Vol. 
IV, p. 482 

12 October, 1 43 5 



Close of Office Constituency Rank or Style 

14 July, 1425 Bedfordshire 


Died 1437. Owned 
lands at Great 
Staughton, Hunts 

I June, 1426 Derbyshire 

Died 1451. Ancestor 
of Lord Vernon 

25 March, 1428 Herts 

Died 1437 

23 Feb., 1429-30 Cambridgeshire 

20 March, 


17 July, 1432 Herefordshire 

21 December, Huntingdon- 
1433 shire 

23 December, Nottingham- 
r43S shire 

(Not mentioned in Dic- 
tionary of Nationa 





Date of 

XV Henry VI, and Sir John Tyrrell Rot. Pari., Vol. 23 Jan., 1436-37 
nth Parliament again IV, p. 496 

summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 21 
January, 1436-37 


William Burley, Rot. Pari., Vol. i9Mar.,i436-37 
or Boerley IV, p. 502 

XVIII Hemry VI, and 'W^liam Rot. Pari., Vol. 13 Nov., 1439 

1 2th Parliament Tresham V, p. 4 

summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 12 
November, 1439 

XX Henry VI, and William Rot. Pari., Vol. 26 Jan., 1441-42 

13th Parliament Tresham V, p. 36 

summoned to meet again 
at Westminster, 25 
January, 1441-42 

summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 25 
February, 1444-45 

XXIII Henry VI, and William Burley Rot. Pari., Vol. 26 Feb., 1444-45 
14th Parliament again V, p. 67 ; and 

Appendix to 
Return of 
Name s of 
Members of 
p. xxiii, where 
he is styled 

XXV Henry VI, and WilUam Rot. Pari., Vol. 1 1 Feb., 1446-47 

15 th Parliament Tresham V, p. 129 

summoned to meet again 
at Bury St. Ed- 
munds, 10 February, 

XXVII Henry VI, and 
16th Parliament 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 12 
February, 1448-49 

Sir John Say Rot. Pari., Vol. 13 Feb., 1448-49 
V, p. 141 



Close of Office 


Rank or Style 


2 J March, 1437 Salop 



Murdered atThorpIand, 
Northants, 1450. 
Owned lands at 
Sywell, Northants. 
Leland, in his Itiner- 
ary, gives a circum- 
stantial account of 
his death 

2 J May, 1442 Northants 

9 April, 1445 Salop 

3 March, 


16 July, 1449 Cambridgeshire 

Died 1478. Buried in 
Broxboume Church, 
Herts, where his me- 
morial brass remains 




Date of 

XXVIII Henry VI, Sir John Rot. Pari., Vol. 8 Nov., 1449 

and 17th Parliament Popham V, p. 171 

summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 6 
November, 1449 




Rot. Pari,, Vol. 8 Nov., 1449 
V, p. 172 

XXIX Henry VI, and Sir William 
i8tli Parliament Oldhall 

summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 6 
November, 1450 

Rot. Pari., Vol. 7 Nov., 1450 
V, p. 210 

XXXI Henry VI, and Thomas Thorpe Rot. Pari., Vol. 8 Mar., 1452-53 
19th Parliament V, p. 227 

summoned to meet 
at Reading, 6 Har., 

XXXII Henry VI, and Sir Thomas Rot. Pari, \ol, 16 Feb., 1453-54 

19th Parliament Charlton V, p. 240 

— continued 

XXXHI Henry VI, Sir John 

and 20th Parliament 
simimoned to meet 
at Westminster, 9 
July, 1455 


Rot. Pari., Vol. 
V, p. 280 ; 
and Appendix 
to Return of 
N a mes of 
Members of 
p. xxiii, where 
he is styled 

10 July, 1455 



Close of Office Constituency 

Excused on Hants 

ground of ill- 

Rank or Style 

Died c. 1463 

Spring, 1450 Northants 

This Parliament, after 
being prorogued over 
Christinas, reassem- 
bled 22 January, and 
was sitting on 17 
March. In April it 
met again at Leices- 

May, 1451 


Died 1460. Buried in 
St. Michael, Pater- 
noster Royal, Lon- 

16 February, 


Beheaded at Haringay 
Park, Middlesex, 1461 

AprU, 1454 


In place of Thorpe im- 
prisoned. (Not men- 
tioned in D.N.B.) 



Lord Wenlock 
146 1 

Killed at the battle of 
Tewkesbury, 1471 




XXXVIII Henry VI, Sir Thomas 

and 2 1 St Parliament 
summoned to meet 
at Coventry, 20 No- 
vember, 1459 



Rot. Pari.. Vol. 
V, p. 345 ; 
and Appendix 
to Return of 
Names of 
Members of 
Parliament, p. 
xxiv, where 
he is styled 

Daie of 

21 Nov., 1459 

XXXIX Henry VI, John Green 
and 22nd Parliament 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 7 
October, 1460 

Rot. Pari., Vol. 8 October, 1460 
V, p. 373 

I Edward IV, and Sir James 
1st Parliament sum- Strangeways 

moned to meet at 
Westminster, 4 No- 
vember, 1 46 1 

Rot. Pari., Vol. 5 Nov., 1461 
V. p. 462 ; 
and Appendix 
to Names of 
Members of 
Parliament, p. 
xxiv, where 
he is styled 
" Prolocutor" 

III Edward IV, and Sir John Say 
2nd Parliament sum- again 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 29 Ap- 
ril, 1463 

Rot. Part., Vol. 
V, p. 497 : 
and Appendix 
to Names of 
Members of 
Parliament, p. 
XXV, where 
he is styled 
" Prolocutor" 

30 April, 1463 

VII Edward IV, and Sir John Say 
3rd Parliament sum- again 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 3 June, 

Rot. Pari., Vol. $ June, 1467 
V, p. 572 

IX Edward IV, and No Speaker 
4th Parliament sum- chosen 
moned to meet at 
York, 22 Sept., 1469 



Close of Office 

20 December, 


Rank or Style 


Beheaded at Tewkes- 
bury, 147 1 

Only sat about Essex 
ten days 

(Not mentioned in D. 

6 May, 1461-62 Yorkshire 



Introduced a new pre- 
cedent. Besides mak- 
ing the customary 
" excuse " on elec- 
tion he offered a 
formal address to 
Crown on the politi- 
cal situation. Buried 
in St. Mary Ovary's, 

May, 1468 




X Edwaxd IV, and 
5th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 26 No- 
vember, 1470 


; Authority 

Date of 

XII Edward IV, and 
6th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 6 Oct., 

William Aling- Rot. Pari., Vol. 7 October, 1472 
ton VI, p. 4 

XVII Edward IV, and 
7th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 16 Jan- 
uary, 1477-78 

William Aling- 
ton again 

Rot. Pari., Vol. 
VI, p. 168 

17 Jan., i47;-78 

XXII Edward IV, and 
8th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 20 Jan- 
uary, 1482-83 

John Wood, 

Rot. Pari, Vol. 
VI, p. 197 ; 
and Appendix 
to Return of 
N a me s of 
Members of 
Parliament, p. 
XXV, where 
he is styled 
" Prolocutor" 

21 Jan., 1482-83 

I Richard III, and William 

1st Parliament sum- Catesby 

moned to meet at 
Westminster, 23 Jan- 
uary, 1483-84 

Rot. Pari., Vol. 24 Jan., 1483-84 
VI, p. 238 ; 
and Appendix 
to Return of 
Names of 
Members of 
Parliament, p. 
XXV, where 
he is styled 
" Prolocutor" 


Close of Office Constituency 

Rank or Style 

14 March, 1474- Cambridgeshire 



No particulars known. 
Henry VI again tem- 
porarily dominant, 
and records, if any 
were kept, probably 
destroyed by order 
of Edward IV 

Date of close 
of Parliament 
but it sat 
about five 


Believed to have been 
buried in Bottisham 
Church, Cambridge- 
shire, in an altar 
tomb from which 
the brass has dis- 


Sussex (prob- 

There is some doubt as 
to whether he repre- 
sented Surrey or Sus- 
sex, but the latter 
appears to be more 

20 February, 


Beheaded 1485, after 
the Battle of Bos- 
worth. Memorial 
brass in the church 
at Ashby St. Ledgers, 

2 B 



Henry VII, and 
I St Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 7 Nov., 


Sir Thomas 



Rot. Pari., Vol. 
VI, p. 268 ; 
and Appendix 
to Return of 
Names of 
Members of 
Parliament, p. 
xxvi, where 
he is styled 

Date of 

8 Nov., 148s 

III Henry VII, and 
2nd Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 9 Nov., 

Sir John 


Rot. Pari., Vol. 
VI, p. 386; 
and Appendix 
to Return of 
Names of 
Members of 
Parliament, p. 
xxvi, where 
he is styled 

10 Nov., 1487 

IV Henry VII, and 
3rd Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 13 Jan- 
uary, 1488-89 

Sir Thomas 


Rot. Pari., Vol. 
VI, p. 410 ; 
and Appendix 
to Return of 
Names of 
Members of 
Parliament, p. 
xxvi, where 
he is styled 
" Prolocutor" 

14 Jan., 1488-89 

VII Henry VII, and 
4th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 17 Oc- 
tober, 149 1 

Sir Richard 


Rot. Pari., Vol. 
VI, p. 440 ; 
and Appendix 
to Return of 
Names of 
Members of 
Parliament, p. 
xxvi, where 
he is styled 

18 October,i49i 


Close of Office Constituency 

March, i486 Northants 

Rank or Style 



The last of the martial 
Speakers. Died 1524, 
Bronze medaUion 
portrait by Torre- 
giano now placed in 
Henry VII's Chapel, 
Westminster Abbey 

Date of close Bedfordshire 
of Parliament 

Chancellor of Died 1506. Monu- 
the Duchy of mental effigy at 
Lancaster Tuivey, Beds. 

Feb. 27, 1490 Yorkshire 

(Not mentioned in 
D.N.B.) Died 1495 

March, 1491-92 Northants 

Chancellor of Beheaded with Dudley 
the Duchy of 1510 


Date of 





XI Henry VII, and 

Sir Robert 

Rot. Pari., Vol. 

15 October, 1495 

Sth Parliament sum- 


VI, p. 458; 

moned to meet at 

(Choice of 

Westminster, 14 Oc- 

Speaker de- 

tober, 1495 

clared by a 
without nam- 
ing the person 

XII Henry VII, on 24 

Sir Reginald 

Appendix to Re- 

October, 1496, a 

Bray (Pre- 

turn of Names 

great Council, rather 

sident or 

of Members of 

than a Parliament, 


Parliament, p. 

met at Westminster 


XII Henry VII, and 

Sir Thomas 

Rot. Pari.. Vol. 

19 Jan., 1496-9; 

6th Parliament sum- 


VI, p. 5 10; 

moned to meet at 

and Appendix 

Westminster, 16 Jan- 

to Return of 

uary, 1496-97 

Name s of 
Members of 
Parliament, p. 
xxvii • 

XIX Henry VII, and 


Rot. Pari., Vol. 

26 Jan., 1503-04 

7th Parliament sum- 


VI, p. 521: 

moned to meet at 

and Appendix 

Westminster, 25 

to Return of 

January, 1503-04 

Name s of 
Members of 
Parliament, p. 
xxvii, where 
he is styled 
" Prolocutor" 

I Henry VIII, and 

Sir Thomas 

Appendix to 

23 Jan., 1509-10 

ist Parliament sum- 


official Return 

moned to meet at 


of Names of 

Westminster, 21 Jan- 

Members of 

uary, 1509-10 

Parliament, p. 
xxviii, where 
he is styled 
" Prolocutor" 



Close of Office Constituency Rank or Style Remarks 

Date of the close Suffolk Died 1536. Monu- 

of this Pax- mental effigy in St. 

liament unas Mary's Church, Bury 

certained St. Edmund's 

Bedfordshire or Chancellor of Died 1503, and was 

Northants in the Duchy of buried in St.George's 

Parliament of Lancaster Chapel, Windsor 

495 Castle, but without 

a monument 

Date of close Berkshire (Not mentioned in 

of this Par- D.AT.B.) Died 1514 

liament unas- 

Date of close Staffordshire Advocate of absolute 

of this Par- monarchy. Beheaded 

liament unas- with Empson 1510 


23 February, Berkshire Died 1514 





III Henry VIII, and Sir Robert 
2nd Parliament sum- Sheffield 

moned to meet at 
Westminster, 4 Feb.; 


Appendix to 
official Return 
of Names of 
Members of 
Parliament, p. 
xxviii, where 
he is styled 

Date of 

S Feb., 1511-12 

VI Henry VIII, and Sir Thomas 
3rd Parliament sum- Nevill 

moned to meet at 
Westminster, 5 Feb., 
1514-15, but met 
ultimately at Black- 

Appendix to 6 Feb., 1514-15 
official Return 
of Names of 
Members of 
Parliament, p. 
xxviii, where 
he is styled 

XIV Henry VIII, and Sir Thomas 
4th Parliament sum- More 

moned to meet at 
Black Friars, 15 Ap- 
ril, 1523 

Appendix to 16 April, 1533 

official Return 

of Names of 

Members of 

Parliament, p. 

xxviii, where 

he is styled 

" Prolocutor" 

XXI Henry VIII, and Sir Thomas 
5 th Parliament sum- Audley 

moned to meet at 
Westminster, 3 Nov., 

Appendix to 
Return of 
Names of 
Members of 
Parliament, p. 
xxix, where 
he is styled 
" Prolocutor" 

5 Nov., 1529 


Sir Humphrey Gobbett's 9 Feb., 1533 

Wingfield Parliamentary 
History, Vol. 
I, p. 524 

XXVIII Henry VIII, Sir Richard 

and 6th Parliament 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 8 
June, 1536 


Cobbett's 9 June, 1536 

History, Vol. 
I. p. 529 



Close of Office 
7 Dec, 1513 


Rank or Style 


Died 15 18. Bvuried in 
the Church of the 
Augustinian Friars, 

22 Dec, 1515 Kent 

Diecl 1 542. Memorial 
brass in Mereworth 
Church, Kent 

13 August, 1523 Middlesex 

Lord Chancellor Beheaded 1535 

26 Jan., 1533 Essex 

Lord Chancellor. 
Lord Audley 

Died 1 544 

4 April, 1536 Great Yar- 

The first Speaker to 
sit for a borough 
constituency. Died 
1545. This was the 
longest Parliament 
known to this date 

18 July, 1536 Colchester 

Lord Chancellor 

Lord Rich 

Died 1567 





Date of 

XXXI Henry VIII, Sir Nicholas 
and 7th Parliament Hare 

summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 28 
April, 1539 

Cobbett's 28 April, 1539 

History, Vol. 
I. P- 536 

XXXIII Henry VIII, Sir Thomas 
and 8th Parliament Moyle 

summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 16 
January, 1541-42 

Cobbett's 19 Jan., 1541-42 

History, Vol. 
I. P- SSO 

Sir John Baker 

and 9th Parliament 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 23 
November, 1545 

I Edward VI, and Sir John Baker 
1st Parliament met again 
in St. Stephen's 
Chapel, Westminster, 
4 November, 1547 

November, 1545 

Acts of the 
Privy Coun- 
cil (edited 
by Sir J. R. 
Dasent), Vol. 
II, p. 24 

Commons Jour- 4 Nov., 1547 
nals. Vol. I, 
p. I 

VII Edward VI, and Sir James Dyer Commons Jour- 2 Mar., 1553-53 
2nd Parliament sum- nals. Vol. I, 

moned to meet at p. 24 

Westminster, 1 Mar., 

I Mary, and istParlia- Sir John Pollard Cobbett's 5 October, 1553 

ment summoned to Parliamentary 

meet at Westminster, History, Vol. 

5 October, 1553 I, p, 607 

I Mary, and 2nd Par- Sir Robert Cobbett's 2 April, 1554 

liament summoned Brooke Parliamentary 

to meet at West- History, Vol. 

minster, 2 April, I, p. 613 


I and II Philip and Sir Clement 
Mary, and ist Par- Heigham 

liament summoned 
to meet at Westmin- 
ster, 12 Nov., 1554 

Cobbett's 12 Nov., 1554 

History, Vol. 
I, p. 617 


Close of Office Constituency Rank or Style Remarks 

34 July, 1540 Norfolk Master of the Died 1557 

Rolls IS S3 

28 March, IS44 Kent Died 1560 

31 Jan.,iS46-47 Huntingdon- Chancellor of Died 1558 
shire the Exchequer 

IS April, 1552 Huntingdon- Died 1558 


31 March Cambridgeshire Chief Justice of Died 1S82 

the Common 

S December Oxfordshire Died ISS7 

S May London Chief Justice of Died 15S8. The first 

the Common Speaker to represent 

Pleas the City of London. 

Monument in Cla- 

verley Church, near 


16 Jan.,i5S4-SS West Looe Chief Baron of Died 1570. Memorial 

the Exchequer brass in Barrow 
Church, Suffolk 



II and III Philip and 
Mary, and 2nd Par- 
liament summoned 
to meet at West- 
minster, 21 October, 


Sir John Pollard 


Commons Jour- 
nals, Vol. I, 
p. 42 

Date of 

21 Oct., ISS5 

IV and V Philip and Sir William Commons Jour- 20 Jan., 1557-58 

Mary, and 3rd Par- Cordell nals. Vol. I, 

liament summoned p. 47 

to meet at Westmin- 
ster, 20 January, 

I Elizabeth, and ist Sir Thomas Commons Jour- 25 Jan.,[i558-S9 

Parliament sum- Gargrave nals, Vol. I, 

moned to meet at p. S3 

Westminster, 25 Jan- 
uary, 1558-59 

V Elizabeth, and 2nd Thomas 

Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 1 1 Jan- 
uary, 1562-63 


P- 79 

12 Jan., 1562-63 

VIII Elizabeth, and Richard Onslow S5anonds 
2nd Parliament. D'Ewes, 

Second session began Journals, 

30 September, 1566 p. 121 

I October, 1566 

XIII Elizabeth, and Sir Christopher Sjrmonds 
3rd Parliament sum- Wray D'Ewes, 

moned to meet at Journals,' 

Westminster,2 April, p. 156 , 


2 April, 1571 



Close of Office Constituency 

9 December, 


Exeter or Chip- 
penham. The 
latter is the 
as the official 
return gives 
the name as 
Johannes PoU 
lard " Armi- 
ger," whereas 
the member 
for Exeter is 
called ' Miles,' 
and the Spea- 
ker was not a 
knight in I sss 

Rank or Style 


Died 1557 

17 November, 


Master of the Died 1581 

8 May, 1559 Yorkshire 

Vice-President Died 1579 
of the Council 
of the North 

10 April, 1563 Exeter 

Died 1566. Buried in 
Harford Church, Co. 

2 Jan., 1566-67 Steyning 

Died 1571 

29 May, 1571 Ludgershall Chief Justice of Died 1592 

the Queen's 


Date of 





XIV Elizabeth, and 

Sir Robert Bell 


8 May, 1572 

4th;Parliament sum- 


moned to meet at 


Westminster, 8 May, 

p. 205 

1 572; 

Commons Jour- 

nals, Vol. I, 
p. 94, which 
gives the date 
of his election 
as 10 May 

Ditto — continued. 4th 

Sir John 

Commons Jour- 

18 Jan., 1580-81 

and last session te- 


nals, Vol. I, 

gan 16 January, 

p. 117 


XXVII Elizabeth, and 

Sir John 


23 Nov., 1584 

Sth Parliament sum- 



moned to meet at 


Westminster, 23 No- 

P- 333 

vember, 1584 

XXVIII Elizabeth, and 

Sir John 


29 Oct., 1586 

6th Parliament sum- 



moned to meet at 



Westminster, 29 Oct. 

p. 392 


XXXI Elizabeth, and 

Thomas Snagge 


4 Feb., 1588-89 

7th Parliament sum- 


moned to meet at 


Westminster, 4 Feb., 

p. 428 


XXXV Elizabeth, and 
Sth Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 19 Feb- 
ruary, 1592-93 

Sir Edward 


p. 469 

19 Feb., 1592-93 



Close of Office Constituency 

Rank or Style 



Lyme Regis 

Chief Baron of Died 1577 
the Exchequer 

19 April, 1583, 
but the House 
did not sit 
after i8 Mar., 


Chief Justice of 
the King's 

Died 1607 

14 Sept., 1586 Carmarthen 

Lord Keeper of 
the Great Seal 

Died 1 596 

23 March, 


29 March, 1589 Bedford 

Died 1593. (The Dic- 
tionary of National 
Biography says he 
was chosen on 12 
November, 1588, but 
there was no Parlia- 
ment in session at 
that date) 

10 April, 1593 Norfolk 

Chief Justice of Died 1634 
the Common 
Pleas 1606, 
Chief Justice 
of the King's 



XXXIX Elizabeth,and 
9th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 24 Oct. 
1 597 


Sir Christopher 


p. 550 

Date of 

24 Oct., 1597 

XLIII Elizabeth, and Sir John Croke 
loth Parliament 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 27 
October, 1601 

I James I, and ist Par- 
liament summoned 
to meet at West- 
minster, 19 March, 

Sir Edward 


p. 621 

Commons Jour- 
nals, Vol. I, 
p. 141 

27 October, 1601 

19 Mar., 1603-4 

XII James I, and Sir Randolph Commons Jour- 5 April, 1614 
2nd Parliament sum- Crewe nals. Vol. I, 

moned to meet at p. 455 

Westminster, S April, 

XVIII James I, and 
3rd Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 16 Jan. 

Sir Thomas 

Commons Jour- 30 Jan., 1620-21 
nals, Vol. I, 
p. 507 

XXI James I, and 
4th Paxliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 12 
February, 1623-24. 
King's speech de- 
livered 19 February 

Sir Thomas Commons Jour- 19 Feb., 1623-24 

Crewe nals. Vol. I, 
p. 670 

I Charles I, and ist 
Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 1 7May , 
1625. (Adjourned to 

Sir Thomas 


There is no men- 
tion in the 
Journals of 
his re-election 
to the Chair. 

History, Vol. 

n, p. 3 

18 June, 1625 


Close of Office Constituency Rank or Style 



9 Feb., 1597-98 Northants Justice of the Died 1612 


19 December, London 

Judge and Re- Died 1620 
corder of Lon- 

9 Feb., 1610-11 Somerset 

Master of the Died 1614 
Rolls 161 1 

7 June, 1614 ? Brackley 

Chief Justice of Died 1646 
the King's 

8 Feb., 1621-22 St. Albans 

Chief Justice of Died 1635 
the Common 
Pleas 1626 

27 March, 1625, Aylesbury 
but the House 
did not sit 
after 29 May, 

Died 1634 

12 August, 1625 Gatton 



I Chaxles I, and 2nd 
Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 6 Feb., 



Date of 

Sir Heneage Commons Jour- 6 Feb., 1625-26 

Finch nals, Vol. I, 
p. 816 

III Charles I, and 3rd Sir John Finch 
Parliament summon- 
ed to meet at West- 
minster, 17 March, 

Commons Jour- 17 Mar., 1627-28 
nals, Vol.11, 
p. 872 

XVI Charles I, 4th Sir John Commons Jour- 13 April, 1640 

or "Short" Parlia- Glanville nals. Vol. II, 

ment summoned to p. 3 

meet at Westminster 
13 April, 1640 

XVI Charles I, Sth William 
or " Long " Parlia- Lenthall 

ment summoned to 
meet at Westminster 
3 November, 1640. 
Dispersed by Crom- 
well, 20 April, 1653 

Commons Jour- 3 Nov., 1640 
nals. Vol. II, 
p. 20 

1 647 — continued 

Henry Pelham 

" Long " Parliament William Len- 
and " Rump " Par- thall again 

Commons Jour- 30 July, 1647 
nals. Vol. V, 
p. 259 

Commons Jour- 6 August, 1647 ; 

nals. Vol. V, returned to 

p. 268 the Chair 

" Barebones " or Little Rev. Francis Commons Jour- 5 July, 1653 

Parliament met 4 Rous nals. Vol. VII, 

July, 1653. (Len- p. 281 

thall not a member 
of it) 

First Parliament of William Len- 
Oliver, Protector, as- thall again 
sembled 3 September 

Second Parliament of Sir Thomas 
Oliver, Protector, as- Widdrington 
sembled 17 Septem- 
ber, 1656 

Commons Jour- 4 Sept., 1654 
nals. Vol. VII, 
P- 365 

Commons Jour- 
nals, Vol. vir, 
P- 423 

17 Sept., 1656 


Close of Office Constituency Rank or Style Remarks 

IS June, 1626 London Died 163 1 

10 March, Canterbury Lord Keeper of Died 1660 

1628-29 the Great Seal 

Baron Finch of 


5 May, 1640 


Died 1 66 1 

Held office till Woodstock 
26 July, 1647, 
when he aban- 
doned the post 
to join the 

Master of the Died 1662 
Rolls, and a 
of the Great 

5 August, 1647 Grantham 

(Not mentioned by 
Manning or D.N.B.) 

20 April, 1653 Woodstock 

12 December, 7 Devonshire Sat in Crom- Died 1659 
1653 well's House 

of Lords 

22 Jan., 1654-55 Oxfordshire 

4 Feb., 1657-58 Northumber- Chief Baron of Died 1664. Buried in 

land the Exche- St. Giles's - in - the - 
quer 1658-60 Fields 

2 C 



Second Parliament of 
Oliver, Protector — 





Commons Jour- 
nals, Ydl.VII. 
p. 483 

Date of 

27 Jan., 1656-57 
appointed pro 
tern. during 
the absence of 
from indispo- 

Parliament of Richard 
Cromwell, Protector, 
assembled 37 Jan., 

Chaloner Chute Commons Jour- 27 Jan., 1658-59 
nals.Yol. VII. 
P- 594 


Sir Lislebone Commons Jour- 
Long nais. Vol. VII, 
p. 612 

9 Mar., 1658-59 


Thomas Commons Jour- 

Bampfylde nals. Vol. VII, 
p. 613 

16 Mar., 1658-59 
and formally 
chosen, 1 5 Ap- 
ril, 1659, after 
the death of 

" Rump," or that por- 
tion of the Long 
Parliament which 
had continued sitting 
till ejected by Crom- 
well, recalled 

William Len- 
thall again 

Commons Jour- 
P- 797 

7 May, 1659 

The Rump restored a 
second time 

William Len- 
thall again 

William Say 

Whole surviving body William Len- 
of the Long Parlia- thall again 
ment recalled after 
Monk's arrival in 

History, Vol. 
Ill, p. 1571 

Commons Jour- 
nals, Vol.VII, 
p. 811 

26 Dec, 1659 

13 Jan., 1659-60 
(during Lent- 
hall's absence 
from indispo- 

21 Jan., 1659-60 


Close of Office Constituency Rank or Style 



Buckingham- Commissioner Died 1675 
shire of the Great 
Seal 1648 and 

9 March, 


Died 1659 

14 March, Wells 


Died 1659 

22 April, 1659 Exeter 

(Not mentioned in 
D.N.B.) Died Oc- 
tober 8, 1693, and 
was buried in St. 
Stephen's Church, 

Octoberi3,i6S9, Oxfordshire 
when the 

Rump was 
expelled by 

13 Jan., 1659-60 Oxfordshire 

21 January, 


Died 1665 ? 

1 6 March, 




XII Charles II, and 
ist or Convention 
Parliament summon- 
ed to meet at West- 
minster, 25 April, 


Sir Harbottle 



Commons Jour- 
p. I 

Date of 

25 April, 1660 

XIII Charles II, and Sir Edward Commons Jour- 8 May, 1661 

2nd or "Pensionary" Tumour »afc, Vol. VIII, 

Parliament sum- p. 245 

moned to meet at 
Westminster, 8 May, 


Sir Job Commons Jour- 4 Feb., 1672-73 

Charlton nals, Vol. IX, 
p. 24s 


Sir Edward Commons Jour- 18 Feb., 1672-73 

Seymour nals. Vol. IX, 
p. 253 


Sir Robert 


Commons Jour- 11 April, 1678 
nals. Vol. IX, 


Sir Edward 


XXXI Charles II, and Sir Edward 
3rd Parliament sum- Sejrmour 

moned to meet at again 
Westminster, 6 Mar., 

Commons Jour- 6 May, 1678 
nals, Vol. IX, 
p. 476 

Cobbett's Pari. 6 Mar.. 1678-79 
Hist., Vol. IV 


Sir William 


Cobbett's Pari. 15 Mar., 1678-79 
Hist., Vol. IV 

XXXI Charles II, and 
4th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 17 Oc- 
tober, 1679. Met for 
business 21 October, 

Sir William 


Commons Jour- 
nals, Vol. IX, 
p. 636 

21 Oct., 1680 


Close of Office Constituency Rank or Style 



29 December, Colchester 

Master of the Died 1685 

23 May, 1671 Hertford 

Chief Baron of Died 1676 
the Exche- 

IS February, Ludlow 


Justice of the Died 1697 

II April, 1678 Totnes 

A Lord of the Died 1708 

6 May, 1678 Wycombe 

Attorney- Died 1692 

General 1681-87 

24 Jan., 1678-79 Totnes 

IS March, 1678- Devonshire 
79, when his 
re-election to 
the Chair was 
refused by the 

12 July, 1679 Weobley 

Baron of the Died i6$6 

18 Jan., 1680-81 Chester 

Solicitor- Died 1700 

General 1687 





Date of 

XXXIII Charles 11, Sir William Commons Jour- 21 Mar., 1680-8 1 

and 5th Parliament Williams nals. Vol. IX, 

summoned to meet again p. 705 

at Oxford, 21 Mar., 
I 680-8 I 

I James II, and ist Sir John Trevor Commons Jour- 19 May, 1685 
Parliament sum- nals, Vol. IX, 

moned to meet at P- 713 

Westminster, 19 May, 

Convention Parliament Henry Powle 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 22 
January, 1688-89 

Commons Jour- 22 Jan., 1688-89 
nals. Vol. X, 
P- 9 

II William and Mary, 
and I St Parliament 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 20 
March, 1689-90 


Sir John Trevor Commons Jour- 
again nals. Vol. X, 

P- 347 

Paul Foley 

VII William and Mary, Paul Foley 
and 2nd Parliament again 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 22 
November, 1695 

Commons Jour- 
nals, Vol. XI, 
p. 272 

Commons Jour- 
nals, Vol. XI, 
P- 334 

20 Mar., 1689-90 

14 Mar., 1694-95 

22 Nov., 1695 

X William III, and Sir Thomas 

3rd Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 24 Au- 
gust, 1698, and met 
for despatch of busi- 
ness 6 December 


Commons Jour- 6 Dec, 1698 
nals. Vol. XII, 
P- 347 

XII William III, and Robert Harley 
4th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 6 Feb., 

Commons Jour- 10 Feb., 1700-1 



Close of Office Constituency Rank or Style 

28 March, 1681 Chester 

2 July, 1687 Denbigh Master of the Expelled the House 

Borough Rolls for taking bribes, 

16 March, 1694-95. 
Died 1717 

6 February, 

Windsor (Whig) Master of the Died 1692 

14 March, 

Yarmouth, Isle 
of Wight 


II October, 1695 Hereford (Tory) 

Died 1699 

7 July, 1698 Hereford (Tory) 

19 Dec, 1700 Woodstock Treasurer of the Died 1710. He re- 

(Whig) Navy quested to be excused 

£om executing the 
office on the ground 
that he suffered from 
the stone 

II Nov., 1 70 1 New Radnor Chancellor of Died 1724 
(Tory) the Exche- 

quer, Earl of 
Oxford 1711 



XIII William III, and 
Sth Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 30 De- 
cember, 1 70 1 


Robert Harley 


Commons Jour- 
p. 645 

Date of 

30 Dec, 1701 

I Anne, and ist Par- 
liament summoned 
to meet at West- 
minster, 20 August, 
1702, and met for 
despatch of business 
20 October 

Robert Harley 

History, Vol. 
VI, p. 46. 

20 Oct., 1702 

IV Anne, and 2nd Par- 
liament summoned 
to meet at West- 
minster, 14 June, 
1705, and met for 
despatch of business 
2 5 October. Declared 
First Parliament of 
Great Britain, 29 
April, 1707 

John Smith 

Commons Jour- 
nals. Vol. XV. 
pp. s and 393 

25 Oct., 1705 

VI Anne, and ist 
Parliament of Great 
Britain met at West- 
minster, 23 October, 


Commons Jour- 
nals, Vol. XV, 
P- 393 

23 Oct.,'1707; 

VII Anne, and 3rd 
Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 8 July, 
1708, and met for 
despatch of business 
16 November 

Sir Richard 


Commons Jour- 
Mafo.Vol. XVI, 
p. 4 

16 Nov., 1708 

IX Anne, and 4th 
Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 2 5 Nov. 


Commons Jour- 
p. 401 

25 Nov., 1710 


Close of Office Constituency Rank or Style Remarks 

2 July, 1702 New Radnor Elected by a majority 

(Tory) of four votes over Sir 

Thomas Littleton 

S April, 1 70s New Radnor 

13 April, 1708 Andover (Whig) Chancellor of Died 1723 

the Exchequer 

Andover (Whig) 

21 Sept., 1710" Surrey (Whig) Chancellor of Died 1717 

the Exchequer 

Baron Onslow 

8 August, 1713 Oxford Univer- Secretary of Died 1732 
sity (Tory) State 1713-14 





Date of 

XII Anne, and sth Sir Thomas Commons Jour- i6Feb., 1713-14 

Parliament sum- Hanmer naU, Vol. 

moned to meet at XVII, p. 472 

Westminster, 12 No- 
vember, 171 3 ; and 
met for despatch 
of business 16 Feb., 
1713-14. Queen's 
speech delivered 2 

I George I, and ist Sir Spencer Commons Jour- i7Mar.,i7i4-i5 

Parliament sum- Compton nals. Vol. 

moned and met for XVIII, p. 16 

business at West- 
minster, 17 March, 

VIII George I, and Sir Spencer 

2nd Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 1 oMay, 
1722 ; met for busi- 
ness 9 October 



Commons Jour- 9 Oct., 1722 
nalsyoX. XX, 
p. 8 

I George II, and ist Arthur Onslow 
ParUament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 28 No- 
vember, 1727 ; met 
for despatch of bu- 
siness 23 January, 

Commons Jour- 23 Jan., 1727-28 
p. 20 

VIII George II, and Arthur Onslow 
2nd Parliament sum- again 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 13 
June, 1734 ; met 
for despatch of busi- 
ness 14 January, 
I 734-35 

Commons Jour- 
nals, Vol. 
XXII, p. 324 

14 Jan., I734-3S 


Close of Office Constituency Rank or Style Remarks 

IS Jan., 1 7 14- IS Suffolk (Tory) Died 1746. 

10 Max., 1721-22 Sussex (Whig) First Lord of Died 1743. 

the Treasury 
1 742, and Earl 
of Wilmington 

S August, 1727 Sussex (Whig) 

17 April, 1734 Surrey (Whig) Died 1768, having been 

Speaker for the re- 
cord number of years 

27 April, 1741 Surrey (Whig) 




XV George II, and Arthur Onslow 
3rd Parlmment sum- again 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 2 5 J une, 
1741 ; met for des- 
patch of business 
I Dec, 1741 


Commons Jour- 
nals, Vol. 
XXIV, p. 8 

Date of 


I Dec, 1 741 

XXI George II, and Arthur Onslow 
4th Parliament sum- again 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 13 Au- 
gust, 1747 ; met for 
despatch of business 
10 Nov., 1747 

Commons Jour- 
nals, Vol. 
XXV, p. 416 

10 Nov., 1747 

XXVII George 11, and Arthur Onslow Commons 
5th Parliament sum- again Journals, 

moned to meet at Vol. XXVII, 

Westminster, and p. 7 

met for despatch of 
business 31 May, 

31 May, I7S4 

I George III, and ist Sir John Cust Commons 
Parliament sum- Journals, 

moned to meet at Vol. XXIX, 

Westminster, 19 May, p. 8 

1 76 1. King's speech 
delivered 3 Novem- 

3 Nov., 1761 

VIII George III, and Sir John Cust 

2nd Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business 10 May, 


Vol. XXXII, 
p. 6 

10 May, 1768 


Sir Fletcher 


Vol. XXXII. 
p. 613 

22 Jan., 1770 


Close of Office Constituency Rank or Style Remarks 

18 June, 1747 Surrey (Whig) 

8 April, 1754 Surrey (Whig) 

20 March, 1761 Surrey (Whig) 

II March, 1768 Grantham Died 1770. 


17 Tsn., 1770 Grantham Died five days after his 

' •" '' (Tory) resignation. 

30 Sept., 1774 Guildford (Tory) Baron Grantley Died 1789. 




XV George III, and 
3rd Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business 29 Novem- 
ber, 1774 


Sir Fletcher 



Vol. XXXV, 

Date of 

29 Nov., 1774 

XXI George III, and 
4th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business 31 October, 

Charles Wolfran 


p. 6 

31 Oct., 1780 

XXIV George III, and 
Sth Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business 18 May, 

Charles Wolfran 

Vol. XL, p. 

18 May, 1784 


William Wynd- 
ham Grenville 

Vol. XLIV, 
P- 4S 

S Jan., 1789 


Henry Commons 

Addington Journals, 

Vol. XLIV, 

8 June, 1789 

XXX George III, and 
6th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet' at 
Westminster, 10 Au- 
gust, 1790 ; met for 
despatch of business 
25 November, 1790 



Vol. XLVI, 
p. 6 

25 Nov., 1790 


Close of Office Constituency Rank or Style Remarks 

I Sept., 1780 Guildford(Tory) Baron Grantley 


25 March, 1784 Winchelsea Died 1789 


2 January, 1789 Rye (Tory) 

7 June, 1789 Buckingham- Prime Minister Died 1834 

shire. Of a "All the Tal- 
Whig family ents." Baron 
but a sup- Grenville 
porter of Pitt 1790 

II June, 1790 Truro (Tory) Prime Minister. Died 1844 

Viscount Sid- 
mouth 1 80s 

20 May, 1796 Devizes (Tory) 



XXXVI George III, 
and 7th Parliament 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 12 
July, 1796 ; and met 
for despatch of busi- 
ness 27 September 

(XLI George III, by ditto 
proclamation of 5 
November, 1800. 
Members then sitting 
were declared mem- 
bers of the First Par- 
liament of the United 
Kingdom, to meet 
22 January, 1801. 
King's speech de- 
livered 2 February, 





Vol. LII, p. 8 


Vol. LVI, p. 6 

Date of 


27 Sept., 1796 

22 Jan., 1801 

7th Parliament — con- Sir John Mitford Commons 
tinned Journals, 

Vol. LVI, 
P- 33 

11 Feb., 1 801 


Charles Abbot 


Journals, Vol. 
LVII. p. 93 

10 Feb., 1802 

XLII George III, and 
8th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 31 Au- 
gust, 1802 ; and met 
for despatch of busi- 
ness 16 November. 
King's speech de- 
livered 23 November 

Charles Abbot 

Vol. LVIII, 
p. 8 

1 6 Nov., 1802 

XLVII George III, and 
9th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business 15 Decem- 
ber, 1806. King's 
speech delivered 19 

Charles Abbot 

Vol. LXII. 
p. 4 

IS Dec, 1806 

Close of Office 
i6 Feb., 1801 


Constituency Rank or Style Remarks 

Devizes (Tory) 

Devizes (Tory) 

9 February, 1 802 Northumber- 
land (Tory) 

Baron Redes- 
dale 1802. 
Lord Chancellor 
of Ireland 1802 

Died 1830 

29 June, 1802 Woodstock Baron Colches- Died 1829. Buried in 

(Tory) ter 18 17 Westminster Abbey. 

The last Speaker to 
be so honoured 
29 April, 1807 Woodstock 


29 April, 1807 Oxford Univer- 
sity (Tory) 

2 D 



XLVII George III, and 
loth Parliament 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business 22 June, 
1807. King's speech 
delivered 26 June 


Charles Abbot 


Vol. LXII, 
p. 560 

Date of 

22 June, 1807 

LIII George III, and 
I ith Parliament 

summoned to meet 
at Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business 24 Novem- 
ber, 1812. Prince 
Regent's speech de- 
livered 30 Nov. 

Charles Abbot 

p. 4 

24 Nov., 1S12 



Vol. LXXII, 
p. 307 

2 June, 1817 

LVIII George III, and 
12th Parliament 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster, 4 
August, 1818 ; met 
for despatch of busi- 
ness 14 January, 
1 8 19. King's speech 
delivered 21 Jan. 

Sutton again 

Vol. LXXIV, 
p. 8 

14 Jan., 1 8 19 

I George IV, and ist 
Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business 2 1 April, 
1820. King's speech 
delivered 27 April 

Sutton again 

Vol. LXXV, 
p. 108 

21 April, 1820 


Close of Office Constituency Rank or Style Remarks 

29 Sept., 1812 Oxford Univer- 
sity (Tory) 

2 June, 1 8 17 Oxford Univer- 

sity (Tory) 

10 June, 1818 Scarborough Viscount Died 1845 

(Tory) Canterbury 

29 Feb., 1820 Scarborough 


2 June, 1826 Scarborough 




VII George IV, and 
2nd Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster,25 July, 
1826 ; met for des- 
patch of business 14 
November. King's 
speech delivered 21 


Sutton again 


p. 8 

Date of 


14 Nov., 1826 

I William IV, and ist Charles 
Parliament sum- Manners- 
moned to meet at Sutton again 
Westminster, 14 
September, 1830; 
met for despatch of 
business 26 October. 
King's speech de- 
livered 2 November 


p. 6 

26 Oct., 1830 

William IV, and 2nd 
Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business 14 June, 
1831. King's speech 
delivered 21 June 

Button again 


p. 522 

14 June, 1831 

III William IV, and 
3rd Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business 29 January, 
1833. King's speech 
delivered 5 February 

V WiUiam IV, and 
4th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business 19 Febru- 
ary, 1835. King's 
speech delivered 24 

Sutton again 





P- 5 

Vol. XC, p. 

29 Jan., 1833 

19 Feb., 1835! 


Close of Office Constituency Rank or Style Remarks 

24 July, 1830 Scarborough 


23 April, 1 83 1 Scarborough 


3 Dec, 1832 Scarborough 


29 Dec, 1834 Cambridge Uni- 
versity (Tory) 

17 July, 1837 Edinburgh Baron Dunferm- The only Speaker to 

(Whig) line 1839 come from north of 

the Tweed. Died 



Victoria, and ist 
Parliament summon- 
ed to meet at West- 
minster, II Septem- 
ber, 1837; and met 
for despatch of busi- 
ness 15 November. 
Queen's speech de- 
livered 20 November 





Vol. XCIII, 

Date of 

IS Nov., 1837 


Charles Shaw- 

Vol. XCIV, 
p. 274 

27 May, 1839 

V Victoria, and '2nd Charles Shaw- Commons 

Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business 19 August, 
.1841. Queen's speech 
.delivered 24 August 

Lefevre again 

Vol. XCVI, 
p. 46s 

19 August, 1841 

XI Victoria, and 3rd 
Parliament summon- 
ed to meet at West- 
minster, 21 Septem- 
ber, 1847; and met 
for despatch of busi- 
ness 18 November. 
Queen's speech de- 
livered 23 November 

Charles Shaw- 
Lefevre again 

Vol. CIII, p. 7 

18 Nov., 1847 

XVI Victoria, and 4th 
Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 20 
August, 1852. Met 
for despatch of busi- 
ness 4 November. 
Queen's speech de- 
livered 1 1 November 

Charles Shaw- 
Lefevre again 

Vol. CVIII, 

4 Nov,, 1852 


Close of Office Constituency Rank or Style Remarks 

15 May, 1839 Edinburgh 


23 June, 1841 North Hamp- Viscount Evers- Died 1888 
shire (Liberal) ley 1857 

23 July, 1847 North Hamp- 
shire (Liberal) 

I July, 1852 North Hamp- 

shire (Liberal) 

31 March, 1857 North Hamp- 
shire (Liberal) 



XX Victoria, and sth 
Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business 30 April, 
1857. Queen's speech 
delivered 7 May 


John Evelyn 


Vol. CXII, 
p. 119 

Date of 

30 April, 1857 

XXII Victoria, and 
6th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business 31 May, 
1859. Queen's speech 
delivered 7 June 

John Evelyn 
Denison again 

Vol. CXIV, 
p. 191 

31 May, 1859 

XXIX Victoria, and 
7th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, 15 
August, 1865 ; and 
met for despatch of 
business i February, 
1866. Queen's speech 
delivered 6 February 

John Evelyn 
Denison again 

Vol. CXXI, 

I Feb., 1866 

XXXII Victoria, and 
8th Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business 10 Decem- 
ber, 1868. Queen's 
speech delivered 16 
February, 1869 

John Evelyn 
Denison again 

Vol. CXXIV, 

10 Dec, 1868 


Henry Bouverie Commons 
William Brand Journals, 

P- 23 

9 Feb.. 1872 


Close of Office Constituency Rank or Style Remarks 

23 April, 1859 North Notts ViscountOssing- Died 1873. His election 

(Liberal) ton 1872 to the Chair was 

unanimous on each 

6 July, 1 86s North Notts 


II Nov., 1868 North Notts 

7 Feb., 1872 North Notts 


26 Jan., 1874 Cambridgeshire Viscount Hamp- Died 1892. His election 
(Liberal) den 1884 to the Chair was 

unanimous on each 



XXXVIII Victoria, 
and 9th Parliament 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business ; March, 
1874. Queen's speech 
delivered 19 March 


Henry Bouverie 
William Brand 


Vol. CXXIX, 

Date of 

S Mar., 1874 

XLIII Victoria, and 
loth Parliament 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business 29 April, 
1880. Queen's speech 
delivered 20 May 

Henry Bouverie 
William Brand 


29 April, 1880 


Arthur Welles- 
ley Peel 



P- 74 

26 Feb., 1884 

XLIX Victoria, and 
nth Parliament 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business 12 January, 
1886. Queen's speech 
(delivered in person 
by Her Majesty) 21 

Arthur Welles- 
ley Peel again 

Vol. CXLI, 

12 Jan., 1886 

L Victoria, and 12th 
Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business 5 August, 
1886. Queen's speech 
delivered 19 August 

Arthur Welles- 
ley Peel again 

Vol. CXLI, 
P- 315 

S August, 1886 



Close of Office ■• Constituency 

24 March, 1880 Cambridgeshire 

Rank or Style 


25 Feb., 1884 


18 Nov., 1885 

Warwick and 

Viscount Peel, 

His election to the 
Chair was unanimous 
on each occasion 

26 June 

Warwick and 

28 June, 1892 

Warwick and 



LVI Victoria, and 13th 
Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business 4 August, 
1892. Queen's speech 
delivered 8 August 


Arthur Welles- 
ley Peel again 


p. 412 

Date of 

4 August, 1892 


William Court 

Vol. CL, 
p. 149 

10 April, 1895 

LIX Victoria, and 14th 
Parliament svmi- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business 12 August, 
1895. Queen's speech 
delivered 15 August 

WilUam Court 
Gully again 

Vol. CL, 
P- 340 

12 August, 1895 

LXIV Victoria, and 
ISth Parliament 
summoned to meet 
at Westminster, i 
November, 1900 ; 
and met for despatch 
of business 3 Decem- 
ber. Queen's speech 
delivered 6 Dec. 

William Court 
Gully again 

Vol. CLV, 
p. 406 

3 Dec, 1900 

And I Edward VII, 
and I St Parliament 
summoned to hear 
the King's speech 
14 February, 1901 

Ditto — continued 

James William 

Vol. CLX, 
p. 249 

8 June, 190S 


Close of Office Constituency Rank or Style Remarks 

9 AprU, 189s Warwick and 


8 July, 1895 Carlisle(Liberal) Viscount Selby, Died 1909. 


25 Sept., 1900 Carlisle(Liberal) 

7 June, 190S Carlisle(Liberal) 

8 Jan., 1906 Cumberland 

(Penrith Div.) 



VI Edward VII, and 
2nd Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business 13 Feb., 
1906. King's speech 
delivered 19 Feb. 


James William 
Lowther again 


Vol. CLXI, 

Date of 

13 Feb., 1906 

X Edward VII, and 
3rd Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business, 15 Feb., 
1 9 10. King's speech 
delivered 21 Feb. 

James William 
Lowther again 

Vol. CLXV, 

IS Feb., 1910 

And I George V, 7 May, 

George V, and ist 
Parliament sum- 
moned to meet at 
Westminster, and 
met for despatch of 
business 31 January, 
1911. King'sspeech 
delivered 6 Feb. 

James William 
Lowther again 

Vol. CLXVI, 
P- 5 

31 Jan., 1911 

It will be noticed that the dates of several elections to the Chair and the 
sequence of names do not, in all cases, correspond with the list of Speakers 
inscribed on the panels of the Library of the House of Commons. They, 
unfortunately, contain many inaccuracies, and it has been the Author's 
endeavour to correct them as far as possible in these pages. 


Close of Office Constituency Rank or Style Remarks 

10 Jan., 1910 Cumberland 

(Penrith Div.) 

28 Nov., 1910 Cumberland 

(Penrith Div.) 

(Penrith Div.) 


3 E 


THE following curious account of Sir Thomas 
LoveU's election to the Chair in 1485 shows 
that at the commencement of the Tudor era 
the Speaker was" recommended for the Royal 
approval by a committee of Knights of the Shire, 
aided, apparently, by a small number of borough 
members, acting in concert with the Lord Chancellor 
and the Recorder of London. It is taken from a report 
made to the corporation of Colchester, by Thomas 
Christmas and John Vertue, burgesses for Colchester, of 
the first Parhament of Henry VII (printed in Benham's 
Red Paper Book of Colchester [1902], pp. 61-2) : — 

" The vij'*' day of November, be ix of the clokke, so 
for to precede unto a leccion for [to] chose a Speker. So 
the leccion gave hir voyse unto Thomas Lovell, a gentle- 
man . . . Lincolhes Inne. That doon, it pleased the 
Knyghts that were there present for to ryse f [rom] ther 
sets and so for to goo to that place where as the Speker 
stode and [brought him and] set hym in his sete. That 
done, there he thanked all the maisters of the plase. Then 
[it pleased] the Recorder of London for to shew the cus- 
tume of the place. This was his seyeng : ' Maister Speker, 
and all my maisters, there hath ben an ordir in this place 
in tymes passed [that] ye shuld commaimde a certayn 
[? number] of Knyghts and other gentilmen, such as it 



pleaseth you ... to the number of xxiiij, and they to 
goo togedir unto my Lord Chaunceler, and there to show 
unto his lordship that they have doon the K5aigs com- 
maundement in the chosyn of our Speker, desyring his 
lordship if that he wold shew it unto the Kyng's grace. 
And . . . whan it plesith the King to commaunde us 
when, we shall present hym afore his high grace. Yt 
pleased the Kyng that we shuld present hym upon the 
ix day of Novembre. That same day, at x of the cloke, 
sembled Maister Speker and all the Knyghts, sitteners,^ 
and burgeyses in the parlement house, and so departed 
into the parlement chamber before the Kyngs grace and 
all his lords spirituall and tempo rail and all his Juggs,^ 
and so presented our Speker before the Kyngs grace and 
all his lords spirituall and temporall.' " 

The Lord Chancellor referred to was John Russell, 
Bishop of Lincoln, and the Recorder of London was 
Thomas Fitzwilliam, who was himself Speaker in 1488-89. 
Speaker Lovell was a contemporary of Abbot Islip, 
the last of the great monastic builders to stamp his 
individuality on the fabric of the Abbey. As Treasurer 
of the Royal Household Lovell probably assisted at the 
laying of the foundation stone of Henry the Seventh's 
Chapel, in which, after the lapse of four centuries, his 
noble medallion portrait by Torregiano has, with singular 
appropriateness, recently been placed. (See illustration 
in this volume.) 

' Citizens. ^ Judges. 


Sir Thomas More's Speech on presentation for the Royal 
Approval, 1523. Translated from the original Latin. 

ON Saturday the i8th day of April, the 4th 
day of Parhament, the Commons from their 
House, appearing before our Lord the 
King in full Parliament, presented to our 
Lord the King Thomas More, knight, as their Speaker ; 
whom our aforesaid Lord the King was graciously pleased 
to accept. 

" Whereupon Thomas, after making his excuse before 
our Lord the King, inasmuch as his excuse could not be 
admitted on the part of our Lord the King, made his 
most humble supplication, that, with the like liberty of 
speech, he might publish and declare all and singular 
things to be by him published and declared in the Parlia- 
ment aforesaid, in the name of the said Commons ; but 
that if he declared any things enjoinglfi on him by his 
Fellows otherwise than they themselves were agreed 
upon, either by adding or diminishing, he might be 
enabled to correct and amend the things so declared 
by his Fellows aforesaid ; and that his Protestation to 
this effect might be entered on the Roll of the Parliament 
" To whom, by the King's command, answer was made 



by the most Reverend Legate, the Lord Chancellor, that 
Thomas should employ and enjoy the like liberty of 
speech as other Speakers, in the times of the noble 
ancestors of our Lord the King of England, were wont to 
use and enjoy in Parliaments of this kind." 



Abbey of Westminster, v. West- 
minster Abbey 

Abijot, Charles (afterwards Lord 
Colchester), Speaker in 1802, 1806, 
1807, and 1812, xxviii, xxx, xxxi, 
XXXV, 264, 295, 298, 299, 300, 301, 
302. 303, 331. 400. 402 

Abbots of Abingdon, 14 

Abbots of Furness, 13 

Abbots of Westminster, 12, 20, 37, 

46. 47, 59. 161 

William of Colchester, 46, 47, 

Thomas Henley, 37 ; John Islip, 

Simon Langham, 42, 43, 44, 

4S. 47 
Nicholas Litlington, 44, 45, 

Thomas Millyng, 95 
Richard Ware, 42 
Abbot's School, Westminster, King 

Edward V educated at, 95 
Abercorn, Earl of, 206 
Abercroraby, James (Lord Dunferm- 
line), Speaker in 1835 and 1837, 
xxx, xxxi, 269, 316, 317, 318, 319, 
320, 404, 406 
Abingdon, Abbots of, 14 
Abingdon Street, xxxix 
Addington, Dr. , the Speaker's father, 

Addington, Henry (Lord Sidmouth), 

Speaker in 1789, 1790, 1796, and 

1801, xxviii, xxx, xxxi, 289, 291, 

292, 293, 294, 398, 400 
" Addled Parliament," 170 
Adjournment, fixed hour for, adopted 

by the House of Commons in 1888, 

Agincourt, Battle of, a Speaker fights 

at, 75 

Album of water-colour drawings of 

Speakers in the National Portrait 

Gallery, xxiv, xxvii, xxviii 
Alexander IV, Pope, 34 
Alington, William, Speaker in 1429, 

xxiii, xxxvi, 79, 360 
Alington, William, the younger. 

Speaker in 1472 and 1477-78, 

xxxvi, 91, 368 
"All the Talents," Ministry of, 288 
Almon, printer of Parliamentary 

debates, 264 
Althorp, Lord, 308 
Amiens, 7, 291 

Anne, Queen of England, 234, 244,245 
Argyll Buildings, London residence 

of Speaker Cust, 276 
Argyll, Duke of, 257 
Armstrong, Sir Thomas, 226 
Arundel, Thomas, Archbishop of 

Canterbury, 62 
Ashby St. Ledger's, Northants, church 

of, XXV ; burial place of Speaker 

Catesby, 369 
Askew, Mr., 197 
"Assenters as well as Petitioners," 

Commons so described in the Rolls 

of 1414, 75 
Audley, Sir Thomas (afterwards 

Lord Audley), Speaker in 1529, 

xxviii, xxx ; painting by Holbein, 

xxxiii ; 124, 125, 374 
Audley End, Essex, said to be the 

largest private house in England, 

Austin Friars, burial place of Speaker 

Sheffield, 117 
Aye Bourne, 10 
Ayles, Rev. Dr. H. H. B., xl 
Aymer de Valence, Bishop Elect of 

Winchester, 34, 343 
Ayremine, William de. Clerk in 

Chancery, records the doings of 

both Houses, temp. Edward H, 32 





Bacon, Sir Francis, 152, 165, 171 

"Bad Parliament" of 1376-77, 52 

Baginton, Warwicksliire, seat of 
Speaker Bromley, 244 

Bailly, Inner, of the Palace of West- 
minster, 19 

— Outer, of the Palace of West- 
minster, 19 

Baker, Mr. William, of Norwich, 

Baker, Sir John, Speaker in 1545 and 
IS47. xxvii, 128, 129, 130, 131, 376 

Ball, John, hanged in 1381, 80 

Bampfylde, Thomas, Speaker in 
1659, xxxvi, 213, 386 

Banqueting House, Whitehall, 170 

Bankside, Southwark, 21 

Barbers Hall, xxviii 

"Barebones" Parliament, 200 

" Bares " or Bars, a game prohibited 
within the precincts of the Palace 
of Westminster, temp. Edward III, 


Barnard, Lord, xxix, xl 

Barner, Battle of, 86 

Barones Minores, severance of, from 
the House of Lords, 22 

Barrow, Suffolk, burial place of 
Speaker Heigham, xxxiv, 377 

Barry, Sir Charles, architect of the 
new Houses of Parliament, 9, 59, 
in, 322 

Baynard, Richard, Speaker in 1 421, 
xxiii, xxxvii, 76, 358 

Beale, Robert, 153 

Beauchamp, Earl, xxxix 

Beauchamp, Richard, Earl of War- 
wick, 78 

Beauchamp, Sir Walter, Speaker in 
1415-16, and the first lawyer to be 
called to the Chair by the Commons 
themselves, xxxiv, xxxvi, 76, 78, 

Beaudesert, 36 

Beaufort, Margaret, bronze effigy of, 
in Westminster Abbey, xxii 

Beaumont, Henry de, xxiii, xxxvii, 
33. 40. 343 

Becket's shrine in Canterbury Cathe- 
dral, 126 

Bedford, Duke of, 288 

Bedford Row, birthplace of Speaker 
Addington, 293 

Bell, Mr. J., xxviii 

Bellasis family, memorial of the, in 
St. Giles's in the Fields, xxviii 

Bell, Sir Robert, Speaker in 1572, 
xxviii, XXX, 139, 380 

Bell Tower of the Palace of West- 
minster, 18 

Belvoir, reproduction of picture of 
Dudley and Empson at, xxvi 

Benevolences, 92, 96, 170 

Benson, Edward White, Archbishop 
of Canterbury, xxxi, xxxii 

Berkeley of Stratton, Lord, 246 

Besant, Sir Walter, 19, 45 

Besselsleigh, Berks, property of the 
Lenthall family, 184, 195 

Bibury Club Races', 206 

"Big Ben" of Westminster, the 
largest chiming clock in the world, 

Bills, early use of the word in the 
Parliamentary sense, S3) 75 

Bills of Supply, a frequent cause of 
disagreement between Lords and 
Commons, 152, 177 

Birch Hall, Colchester, xxxv 

Birdcage Walk, II 

"Black," or Reformation, Parlia- 
ment, 124 

Black Prince, Edward the, 39, 51 

Blackfriars, 49, 119, 120, 123, 137 

— Parliaments held at, 49, 119, 120 
Blood, Col., 283 

"Bloodless Rencontre, The," 289 
Blount, Sir Thomas, 161 

— Sir Michael, 162 

— Le, Nicholas, 161 

Bobbing, Kent, burial place of Speaker 
Savage, xxv, 353 

Bodleian Library, Oxford, xxxv 

Boerley w. Burley, 362 

Boleyn, Anne, 11 

Bolingbroke, Viscount, Henry Saint- 
John, 247 

Bourchier, Thomas, Archbishop of 
Canterbury, 85 

Bowes, John, Speaker in 1435, xxiii, 
xxxvii, 360 

Boyer's Political State of Great 
Britain, 248, 265 

Bradford, Lord, 257 

Brand, Henry Bouverie William, 
(Viscount Hampden), Speaker in 
1872, 1874 and 1880, XXX, xxxi, 
333-S. 408, 410 



Brassington, Robert, a craftsman em- 
ployed on Westminster Hall, temp. 
Richard II, 59 

Bray, Edmund, xxvi 

Bray, John, xxvi 

Bray, Judge Edward, xxvi 

Bray, Lord, xxvi 

Bray, Mr. Justice, xxvi 

Bray, Sir Edward, xxvi 

Bray, Sir Reginald, President or 
Chairman of a great Council in 
1496 : portrait of, xxvi ; 108, 109, 

Braybrooke, Lord, xxxiii 

Brembre, Sir Nicholas, Lord Mayor 
of London, 88 

Bribery, 115, 116, 227 

Brideoak, Ralph, Bishop of Chiches- 
ter, 207, 209 

Bridewell, Palace of, 118, 119 

Bristol, surrender of, to Henry of 
Lancaster, 57 

British Museum, Map of Westmin- 
ster in 1740, xxxviii; Speaker 
Arthur Onslow, one of the founders 
of, 273 

" Broad-bottomed Administration," 

Broadside of List of Members, xxxv 
Bromley, William, Speaker in 1710, 

XXX, xxxi, xxxv ; 239, 243, 244, 

245, 246, 248, 332, 392 
Brooke, Sir Robert, Speaker in 1554 ; 

and the first to represent the City of 

London, xxiii, xxvii, xxxiv, 125, 

134, 376 
Brown, Sir Adam, 227 
Browne, Sir George, 83 
Broxbourne Church, Hertfordshire, 

burial place of Speaker Sir John 

Say, XXV, 81 
Bruen, Mr., of Greek Street, xxx 
" Bubble and Squeak," nicknames 

of the two brothers Wynn, 


Buckingham, Dukes of, 171, 178, 
180, 181, 182, l88 

Buckingham Palace, Goring House 
on site of, occupied by Speaker 
Lenthall, 112, 190 

Bulinga Fen, 10 

"Bull Face, Double Fee, Sir," nick- 
name applied to Speaker Norton, 

Bulteel, Mr., 309 

Burford Priory, Oxfordshire home of 
Speaker Lenthall, 184, 204, 205, 
206, 207 

Burford, view of, xxxix 

Burges, Dr., 189 

Burgh, William, a craftsman em- 
ployed on Westminster Hall, temp. 
Richard II, 59 

Burghley, Lord Treasurer, 146 

Burgoyne, General, 283 

Burke, Edmund, 265, 285 

Burke's EstabUshment Bill, 279, 282 

Burley or Boerley, William, Speaker 
in 1436-37. and 1444-45, xxxvii, 

Burlington, Lord, plans new Houses 
of Parliament in 1733, 274, 275 

Burnet, Gilbert, Bishop of Salisbury, 

236. 237 
Bury St. Edmunds, St. Mary's 

Church in, burial place of Speaker 

Drury, 373 
Bussy, or Bushey, Sir John, Speaker 

in 1393-94. 1396-97. and 1397, 

xxxvi, xxxvii, 33, 56, 57, 350 
the first Speaker mentioned by 

Shakespeare, 57 
"Butcher of England," The, John 

Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, 70, 71, 

Butterwick, Lmcolnshire, seat of 
Speaker Sheffield, temp. Henry 
VIII, 117 

Cabinet Government — Ministerial re- 
sponsibility to Parliament, origin 
of the system, 260; increased 
power of, in recent years, 330 

Cade, Jack, 80, 83 

Csesar, Sir Charles, 203 

Cairns, Countess, xxxix 

Cairns, Earl, xxxix 

Call of the House in Tudor times, 120 

Campbell-Bannerman, Sir Henry, 339 

Campbell, Colin, Architect, 136, 256 

Campeggio, Cardinal, 123 

Campion, Edmund, 162 

Cannon, or Channel Row, 10 

Canning, George, 292 

Canterbury Cathedral, 126, 300 

Canterbury, Viscount, v. Manners- 
Button, Charles 

Cardinal Cap Alley, Bankside, 21 



Carteret, Lord, 253 

Carey Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, 


Caricatures of Speakers, 284, 288 

Cartwright, Thomas, 162 

Casting Votes of Speakers, 160, 196, 
223, 283 

" Cat, the Rat and Lovell the Dog," 

Catesby, Robert, 96 

Catesby, William, Speaker in 1483- 
84, xxxvi, 96, 97, 368 ; memorial 
brass of, xxv 

Caxton, William, 48, ijo 

Cecil, Sir Robert, 153, 169 

Chair, Speaker Lenthall's, canopy of, 
preserved at Radley, Berks, 195 

Chamber of the Chauntor of St. 
Stephen's Chapel, Palace of West- 
minster, 17 

Chamber of the Cross in the old 
Palace of Westminster, 18 

Charaberlayne's ^Mij'A'ffi Notitia, 219, 

Chambers, John, Dean of St. Ste- 
phen's Chapel, Westminster, 119 

Chambre Blanche, or White Hall, in 
the old Palace of Westminster, 42, 

Chancery Lane, 103, 202 
Chapel of St. Benedict, Westminster 

Abbey, 44 
Chapel of St. Erasmus, Westminster 

Abbey, 95 
Chapel of the Pyx, Westminster 

Abbey, 58 
Chapel of St. Michael, Westminster 

Abbey, Wm. Trussell's tomb in, 40 
Chapel of St. Stephen, in the old 

Palace of Westminster, v. St. 

Stephen, Chapel of ; Chapel, 

Henry VII's, in Westminster 

Abbey, 94, 105, 109, no, in 
Chaplain of the House of Commons, 

in the reign of Queen Anne, 245 
Chapter House of the Abbey, 41, 45, 

46, 47, 48, 49 
Charles I, King of England, 7, 190, 

Charles II, King of England, 215, 

226, 227, 228 
Charlton, Sir Job, Speaker in 1672- 

73, XXX, 222, 388 
Charlton, Sir Thomas, Speaker, in 

1453-54. xxiii, xxxvii, 81, 83, 364 

Chaucer, Geoffrey, S3> 71 

Chaucer, Thomas, Speaker in 1407, 

1409-10, 141 1, 1414, and 1421, 

71. 72, 354. 356, 358; memorial 

brass of, xxv 
Checkenden, Bucks, xxxiv 
Cheney, v. Cheyne 
Cheyne, Sir John, Speaker in 1399, 

xxiii, xxxvii, 62, 352 
Chope, Mr. R. P., xl 
Christ Church College, Oxford, xxijc, 


Church and State, symbol of the 
Union of, in Plantagenet times, 48 

Church, spoliation of the, proposed by 
the House of Commons in 1404, 


Chute, Chaloner, Speaker in 1658-59, 

xxix, 213, 386 
Chute, Mr. Charles, of The Vyne, 

Basingstoke, xxix 
Cinque Ports, 25 
City of London, Sir Robert Brooke 

the first Speaker to represent it in 

Parliament, 134 
Clarence, Duke of, 92 
Claverley, near Wolverhampton, 

burial place of Speaker Brooke, 

xxxiv, 134 
Clement's Lane, 230 
Clergy Residence Bill, introduced by 

Speaker Manners-Sutton, 304 
Clerk of the House of Commons, 33, 

159, 168, 267, 315 
Clerk Assistant of the House of 

Commons, print disproving the 

belief that John Rushworth was 

the first, xxxviii 
Clerk of the Parliaments, 33 
Cleuderre, William, a craftsman em- 
ployed on Westminister Hall, temp. 

Richard II, 59 
Clifford Street, Burlington Gardens, 

Clive, Lord, 260 
Clock for use of the House of 

Commons, first mention of, 157 
Clock Tower of the old Palace of 

Westminister, 118 
Cloister Court of St. Stephen's 

Chapel, Palace of Westminister, 

118, 119 
Closure of Debate, institution of, 335 
Cloth Fair, Smithfield, 126 
Coalition Ministry of 1783, 284 



Cobbett's Parliamentary History, 
^ 26s, 374, 376, 382, 386, 388, 392 
Cockpit in Whitehall, igg, 265, 281 
Coe, Rev. C. H., xl 
Coke, Sir Edward, Speaker in 

1592-93, xxviii, xxix, xxxi, 31, 

147. 148. 149-158, 171, 172, 178, 

179, 184, 331. 380 
Colchester, Lord, v. Abbot, Charles 
College Street, Great, Westminster, 

viii, 10, 12 
Coldham, xxviii 
Commercial Treaty with France, 

1713. 247 
"Committee of Safety," 213 
Committee of the whole House, 

Speaker formerly votes in, 331 
Commons, House of — 
Plantagenet Period — 

Dawn of the English Constitu- 
tion, at Westminster, 4 
Barones Minores, or lesser Ten- 
ants in Chief, separate from 
the House of Lords, 22 
Simon de Montfort and the writ 

of summons, 23 
The Writ becomes a right, in- 
stead of, as in the case of the 
House of Lords, a privilege. 

Transition of the principle of 
representation from tenure to 
selection, 23 

Knights of the Shire, when first 
summoned to Westminster, 

24 . 

Novelties and experiments intro- 
duced into the Parliamentary 
system in the thirteenth cen- 
tury, 27 

Burgesses, when first summoned 
to Westminster, 28 ; seldom 
attend in person, contenting 
themselves with petitioning 
the Crown, 23 

End of the experimental stage 
and permament establishment 
of an assembly comprising 
three estates of the realm, 28 

Separation of the two Houses, 
temp. Edward III, 30 ; not- 
withstanding some uncertainty 
as to Lords and Commons 
having, at any time, deliber- 
ated in the same Chamber, 31 

Commons, House of — 
Plantagenet Period — 

Lords and Commons make separ- 
ate grants in 1332 and 1339, 31 

Earliest mouthpieces of the 
Commons, the precursors of 
the formally elected Speakers 
mentioned in the Rolls of Par- 
liament, 33 

Important constitutional as- 
sembly at Westminster in 
February, 1304-05, 29 

In 1322 the Commons obtain 
from Edward II an acknow- 
ledgment of the supremacy of 
a representative assembly, vir- 
tually amounting to a written 
Constitution, 32 

Maintenance of order within the 
Palace of Westminster, temp. 
Edward III, 31 

Clerk of the House of Commons 
appointed in 1338, 33 

Peter de Montfort said to have 
acted "vice totius communi- 
talis" in the "Mad Parlia- 
ment," held at Oxford, 1258, 
a restricted assembly of Barons 
and Prelates, 35 

Differences between Lords and 
Commons in 1339 lead to the 
summoning of a new Parlia- 
ment, 39 

Commons assemble in the 
Painted Chamber in the Easter 
Parliament of 1343, 42; in 
the Chapter House of the 
Abbots of Westminster in 
1351-52, during the rule of 
Simon Langham, 43 

A Parliamentary leader, holding 
a position not dissimilar to 
that of Speaker (William Trus- 
sell), buried in Westminster 
Abbey, temp. Edward III, 

Commons assemble in the Re- 
fectory of the Monks of West- 
minster in 1397, 48 

Sir Thomas Hungerford, the 
first Speaker whose name is 
entered on the Rolls, calls the 
attention of the King to the 
grievances of his subjects, both 
male and female, 53 



Commons, House of — 
Plantagenet Period — 

Sir James Pickering, Speaker in 
1378, asserts the right of free 
speech, 54 

Sir John Guildesborough, 
Speaker in 1380, foreshadows 
the modern procedure in 
Committee of Supply in his 
speech to the Throne, 56 
Lancastrian Period — 

Henry IV, driven by necessity 
to depend upon constitutional 
methods, endeavours to con- 
ciliate Parliament, 63 

No taxation without consent and 
legislation to be based upon 
mutual recognition of the rights 
of both Houses, 63 

Harmonious relations of Lords 
and Commons at the beginning 
of the reign. Both Houses 
invited to dine at Westminster 
by the King, 64 

Reunion of the two Houses for 
social purposes contrasted with 
a recent proposal that the 
Lords and Commons or a 
committee drawn from both 
Houses should meet as one 
deliberative body in cases of 
deadlock, 65 

Income tax sought to be im- 
posed in 1404 proves highly 
unpopular, and is only granted 
on the understanding that it 
should not be considered a 
precedent, 66 

The Declaration of Gloucester 
1407 lays down that no reports 
of money grants shall be made 
to the Crown until both 
Houses have agreed on their 
terms, such reports to be de- 
livered only by the Speaker 
of the House of Commons, 


The Commons described in the 
Rolls of 1414 as Assenters as 
well as Petitioners, 75 

Bills gradually supersede peti- 
tions, and are to be engrossed 
as statutes without alteration 
by the Crown, 75 

Commons, House of — 
Lancastrian Period — 

The county electorate limited to 
freeholders of forty shillings 
annual value in 1429-30, and 
so continued for 400 years, 79 

A constitutional opposition 
headed by the Duke of York 
receives the sympathy of the 
City of London and many 
provincial municipalities, 81 

An ex-Speaker beheaded by a 
London mob, 83 
Yorkist Period — 

The growth of borough repre- 
sentation coincides with the 
gradual relinquishment of the 
custom of payment of mem- 
bers, 87, 88 

Speaker Strangeways reviews 
the political situation in his 
speech to the Throne, 1461, 89 

The Commons thanked by the 
King for their support, 90 

Unpopularity of the method of 
raising money by means of 
income tax, 92 

Unambitious nature of the legis- 
lation attempted, and little or 
no redress of grievances, 93 

In the intervals of Parliamentary 
government the King is de- 
pendent for supplies on confis- 
cations and benevolences, 91, 

Statutes of the realm for the 
first time printed in English, 
temp. Richard III, 96 

No measures of repression or 
severity towards opponents in- 
troduced to the House during 
his reign, 96 
Tudor Period — 

Powers of the Commons re- 
stricted, and those of the 
Privy Council increased, 99 

Court of Star Chamber set up, 

Sir Thomas Lovell, the last of 
the Martial Speakers, called 
to the Chair, 104 

Unostentatious character of 
legislation achieved by the 
earlier Tudor Parliaments, 107 



Commons, House of — 
Tudor Period— 

Continuous Parliamentary gov- 
ernment neither expected or 
desired by the constituencies, 
temp. Henry VIII, 113 

Two ex-Speakers beheaded on 
Tower Hill, 113 

Bills prepared by the Privy 
Council presented cut and 
dried to the Commons, 114 

Intimidation and bribery lead 
to little or no free choice in 
the election of members, 1 14, 

Pressure put upon sheriffs and 
mayors by Thomas Cromwell 
to ensure return of candidates 
favourable to the Court, 

Spirit of independence almost 
wholly dead in the House of 
Commons at the Reformation, 

A graduated tax upon income 
and property is, however, 
stoutly resisted in 1523, 121 

The Commons reduced to such a 
degree of subserviency that 
even the imprisonment of their 
Speaker passes without re- 
monstrance, 128 

A sessional allowance of ;£^ioo 
made to the Speaker, 129 

The long and intimate connection 
between the Abbey and the 
Commons comes to an end, 
and the latter remove to the 
disused Chapel of St. Stephen, 
in the Palace of Westminster, 

131 ... 

Revival of independent spirit in 

the Commons, temp. Edward 

VI, 131 
Precautions taken by Queen 
. Mary I to ensure the return of 

members favourable to the old 

faith, 134 
Early instance of a contest for 

the Chair, in 1566, 137 
Description of the House of 

Commons in 1568, 138 
Queen Elizabeth orders the Com- 
mons to make no fresh laws, 


Commons, House of — 
Tudor Period — 

Compliance of the Commons 
with the advisers of the Crown 
on the occasion of the trial and 
execution of Mary Queen of 
Scots, 141 

Thomas Snagge, a lawyer, and 
a future Speaker, advocates the 
use of simpler language in the 
framing of laws, 143 

Sir Edward Coke becomes 
Speaker, but shows little of 
the independence and courage 
marking the later years of his 
career, 147 ; discourages the 
making of new laws, 148 ; 
ensures the postponement of 
an inconvenient debate, 149 ; 
prevents the House from com- 
ing to an immediate decision 
unpalatable to the Court, 150 

Serious disagreement between the 
two Houses in connection with 
the granting of supplies, 1 5 1 

Sir Francis Bacon upholds the 
privileges of the Commons, 152 

A conference held with the 
Lords in 1593, at which the 
Commons give way on tl;ie 
question of the wording of the 
preamble of Bills of Supply, 


The Subsidy Bill only passed in 
the Lower House through the 
subtlety of Speaker Coke in 
putting the question, 156 

Right of the Speaker to speak 
and vote in committee asserted 
by Coke, 157 

Extraordinary precautions taken 
by the Privy Council in 1597 
to ensure the return of 
members favourable to the 
Queen's Government, 159 

Prayers adopted in the Commons, 


Early hours of meeting of the 
House, 159 

Casting vote of Speaker, early 
decision as to, 160 

Suspicion of Spain in the public 
mind leads to a permanent 
Protestant majority in the 
House of Commons, 162 



Commons, House of — 
Tudor Period — 

A growing spirit of self-reliance 
manifests itself in theCommons 
towards the close of Elizabeth's 
reign, 163 

The right of argument recog- 
nised when responsible Minis- 
ters of the Crown sit in the 
House and take part in debate 
on equal terms with the general 
body of members, 163 
Stuart Period — 

The great struggle between the 
Commons and the Crown — 

Notwithstanding the advent of 
a generation which valued pri- 
vilege more than prerogative 
Parliamentary progress is re- 
tarded, temp. James I, 165 

The important case of Privilege of 
Sir Thomas Shirley carries the 
amount of protection afforded 
by the House to its members a 
step further than in the instan- 
ces of Haxey and Strode, 166 

Rules made for the guidance of 
the House and its Speaker, i68 

Old or discredited system of 
raising money by benevolences, 
the sale of honours, and the 
creation ofmonopolies, resorted 
to by the King, 170 

The Commons make formal 
assertion of their liberties in 
1 62 1, 171 ; whereon the King 
tears the page out of the 
Journal with his own hand, 1 72 

The refusal of supplies in Charles 
I's first Parliament leads to its 
summary dismissal, 175 

Increasing boldness of the 
Commons instanced by the 
impeachment of the Duke of 
Buckingham, 175 

Oliver Cromwell enters the House 
at the age of 29, 176 

A committee appointed by the 
Commons to draw up the pre- 
amble of the Bill of Supply, 177 

A conference held between the 
two Houses, 1628, and a 
threatened deadlock averted 
by the Lords passing the Bill 
as it stood, 180 

Commons, House of — 
Stuart Period — 

The Long Parliament assembles, 

Lenthall chosen Speaker, 184; 
owes his election to an acci- 
dent, 184 ; the opinion of most 
of his contemporaries unfa- 
vourable, 185 ; derives great 
assistance from Henry Elsynge, 
the Clerk of the House, 186 ; 
the latter resigns his post in 
1648 rather than it should be 
said that he even tacitly ap- 
proved of the trial and con- 
demnation of the King, 186 

Quorum of the House fixed at 
forty, 188 
-^ — ^Long hours of sitting cause the 
Speaker to think of resigning 
office, 189 

Attempted arrest of theFiveMem- 
bers, 3 January, 1641-42, 190 

A King of England enters the 
House of Commons and takes 
the Speaker's Chair, 190 

Lenthall's memorable reply to 
Charles I, 192 

Incidents of the day described, 

19Z, 193 

Lenthall abandons his post on 
the military party becoming 
absolute masters of the situa- 
tion, 19s ; but returns to the 
Chair a few days later, 196 

"Pride's Purge" effected with- 
out articulate protest from the 
Speaker, 196 

Lenthall gives a casting vote on 
a question connected with the 
Isle of Wight Treaty with the 
King, 197 

The rift between the Army and 
the Parliament broadens, 198 

The nation not truly represented 
at Westminster, 198 

The uncontrolled rule of a single 
Chamber proves distasteful to 
many of Cromwell's sup- 
porters, 198 

Expulsion of the Long Parlia- 
ment by Cromwell, 199 

The Speaker pulled out of his 
Chair and the mace removed, 



Commons, House of — 
Stuart Period — 

"Barebones" or Little Parlia- 
ment, Lenthall not a member 
of it, 200 

This assembly, known as " The 
Reign of the Saints," having 
served its purpose, is cajoled 
by its Speaker (Francis Rous) 
into summary abdication, 

Lenthall unanimously re-elected 
in the first Parliament of 
Oliver, Protector, but replaced 
by Sir Thomas Widdrington 
in his second, 200 

Lenthall takes his seat in the 
caricature of the House of 
Lords set up by Cromwell in 
January, 1658, 201 

Lenthall consents to preside over 
the restored " Rump " in May , 
1659, 201 

The ' Rump ' violently dis- 
persed by General Lambert, 

The whole surviving body of the 
Long Parliament having been 
restored by the army, Lenthall 
again takes the Chair, 202 

Military and Parliamentary rule 
having alike become distasteful 
to the country, the way is 
paved for the Restoration of 
the Monarchy, 202 

Proposal to exclude lawyers from 
the House, Speaker Bulstrode 
Whitelocke's sarcastic remarks 
upon, 213 

The "Pensionary Parliament" 
of Charles II shows itself 
extremely jealous of the 
privileges of the Commons, 


The House of Commons as seen 
by French eyes in 1663, 220, 

Formal contention of the House 
of Commons in 1671 that the 
Lords are unable to amend a 
Money Bill, 221 

The struggle between the two 
Houses renewed over a Money 
Bill for the disbandment of 
troops, 222 

3 F 

Commons, House of—; 
Stuart Period — 

The Commons pass a resolu- 
tion debarring the Lords from 
amending, though not of re- 
jecting or suspending, a Money 
Bill, 222 

A grave disturbance in com- 
mittee of the whole House 
quelled by the prompt action 
of the Speaker, 224 

The reorganisation of Danby's 
supporters in the House of 
Commons leads to a cleavage 
of parties, out of which sprang 
the Whigs and Tories of later 
days, 225 

The relations of the two Houses 
become once more strained 
(the precedent of Henry IV 
again quoted), 225 

Evolution of the non-partisan 
Speaker foreshadowed, 227 

The terms Whig and Tory first 
generally applied, 227 

The Commons seek to curtail 
the prerogative of the Crown, 

Parliament summoned to meet 
at Oxford, 228 

Speaker Trevor expelled the 
House for taking bribes, 229 

Importance of the Speaker's 
office enters upon a new phase 
after the Revolution of 1688, 

Position of the Speaker, as first 
Commoner of the Realm, 
defined by the Legislature, 231 

The Speakership of Paul Foley, 
temp. William III, marks a 
stage in the evolution of the 
independence of the Chair, 233 

Reaction, in 1695, from the 
custom of promoting lawyers 
to the Chair, 234 

"Tacking," in 1699 and 1700, 


A quarrel between the two 
Houses leads to a better under- 
standing between William III 
and the Tory party, 236 

Speaker Littleton's antipathy to 
the legal profession in Parlia- 
ment, 237 



Commons, House of — 
Stuart Period — 

Speaker Harley, by birth and 
education a Whig, develops, 
by imperceptible stages, into 
the leader of the Tory party, 
238 ; said to have been the in- 
ventor of the newspaper press 
as an instrument of party war- 
fare, 239 

A Speaker confronted in the 
House of Commons by no less 
than three previous holders of 
the office (1708), 242 

Sir Thomas Hanmer, Speaker 
in 1713-14, a popular leader 
before his elevation to the 
Chair, 246 ; makes the speech 
of his life in 1713, 247-49 

A Tariff Reform debate in the 
reign of Queen Anne, 247 

The Speakership assumes a per- 
manent character, hitherto un- 
known in its annals, temp. 
George I, 251 

Under Sir Robert Walpole the 
House of Commons becomes 
the real seat of power, with a 
corresponding increase in the 
dignity and importance of the 
Chair, 252 

Arthur Onslow, Speaker for the 
record number of years, elected 
to the Chair, 255 ; embraces 
the orthodox Whig creed, 255 ; 
the first Speaker to realise the 
paramount importance of the 
impartiality of the Chair, 258 ; 
his conception of the duties 
and responsibilities of his 
office, contributes to the shap- 
ing of the modern system of 
Party Government, 259 
Hanmerian and Saxe - Coburg 

Period — 

Rise of the system of Cabinet 
Government coupled with min- 
isterial responsibility to Par- 
liament, 260 

The Speaker brings to the notice 
of the House the illicit report- 
ing of its Debates, 260-66 

Rise of the influence of the 
newspaper press, 260-66 

Commons, House of — 
Hanoverian and Saxe - Coburg 

Period — 

Speaker Arthur Onslow's au- 
thority defied by a culprit at 
the bar in 1751, 269 

The Speaker opposes, in com- 
mittee of the whole House, 
a measure promoted by the 
Government, 270 

His fearless advocacy of the 
privileges of the Commons and 
his opposition to late sittings 
and late hours of meeting; 271 

His farewell speech to the House, 
quoted in extenso, 272 

Proposals for building a new 
House of Commons, 274 

Speaker Cust sits in the Chair 
for sixteen hours, 275 

The Commons revert to the 
practice of appointing a law 
officer of the Crown to the 
Chair, 276 ; the experiment 
not altogether successful, 277- 


Speaker Norton s extraordinary 
speech to the Throne on pre- 
seriting a Bill for the better 
support of the Royal Houses 
hold, 279 

The Speaker makes a violent 
attack on the Prime Minister 
(Lord North), in the debate on 
Burke'sEstablishmentBill, 279 

Picturesque appearance of the 
House in the middle of the 
eighteenth century, as com- 
pared with the present day, 280 

Ladies excluded from the gallery 
in consequence of a distur- 
bance in 1778, 280 

Speaker Cornwall gives a casting 
vote against the Government 
of the day, 283 

William Wyndham Grenville, 
(Pitt's cousin) raised to the 
Chair at the early age of 29, 

Speaker Addington, a genial 
mediocrity, owes his election 
to the Chair to the influence 
of Pitt, 290 ; becomes Prime 
Minister, 291 ; replaced by 
Pitt, 292 



Commons, House of — 
Hanoverian and Saxe ■ Coburg 

Period — 

The Speaker takes up his official 
residence at Westminster, 292 ; 
and gives his State dinners in 
the crypt of St. Stephen's 
Chapel, which had long been 
used as a coal-cellar, 295 

The procession of Tory Speakers 
continued by Charles Abbot 
(the inventor of the Census), 
298 ; his conversation with 
Pitt as to the most convenient 
hour for beginning public busi- 
ness, 299 ; induces the Govern- 
ment to spend ;^70,ooo on his 
official residence, 300 ; incurs 
a motion of censure for hav- 
ing introduced the subject of 
Roman Catholic aggression 
into his speech to the Throne, 
320 ; his action exonerated by 
the House by a substantial 
majority, 302 

Speaker Abbot, the last Speaker 
to be buried in Westminster 
Abbey, 303 

Speaker Manners-Sutton fills the 
Chair of the Commons on 
seven separate occasions, 303 ; 
is offered the post of Prime 
Minister, 307 ; in the Chair at 
the passing of the great Re- 
form Bill, 308 ; is asked by 
the Whigs to retain the 
Speakership after the Reform 
Bill had been carried, 308 

Destruction of the old Houses of 
Parliament by fire in 1834, 311 

Manners-Sutton is superseded by 
Abercrombyin 1835 by a com- 
bination of minorities voting 
with the Whigs, 316 

Speaker Abercromby, the first 
Whig to occupy the Chair 
since Arthur Onslow, and the 
only Speaker from north of 
the Tweed, 317 

Speaker Shaw-I-efevre, one of 
the conspicuous successes of 
the Chair, and the first non- 
partisan Speaker of modern 
times, 319; wins the approval 
of all parties in the House, 321 

Commons, House of — 

Hanoverian and Saxe - Coburg 


The Commons meet, experiment- 
ally, in the present Chamber, 
May 30, 1850, 322 

Changing conditions of the 
House of Commons, its causes 
described, 330 

Lord Palmerston consults Delane 
as to the choice of a successor 
to Speaker Shaw-Lefevre, 324 

John Evelyn Denison, first chosen 
in 1857, 325 ; the last Speaker 
to exercise his right of voting 
in Committee, 331, and the 
first to occupy the new official 
residence in the Palace of 
Westminster, 332 

Mr. Speaker Brand's coup ditat 
of February, 1881, declaring 
the state of public business to 
be so urgent as to justify him 
in closing the debate, 333 

Urgency resolutions adopted by 
the House and power given 
to the Speaker to put the 
question forthwith, 334 

The principle of Closure of De- 
bate adopted in 1882, and 
further powers for maintaining 
order and checking irrelevancy, 
conferred on the Chair in 
1888, 335 

A fixed hour for the adjournment 
of the House adopted in 1888, 


Orders regulating procedure on 
certain stages of Bills intro- 
duced by the Government, 
generally known as " Guillo- 
tine" Resolutions, 336 

Since 1887 occasionally applied 
in order to dispose of the 
necessary supply before the 
close of the financial year, 336 

Dynamite explosions at West- 
minster in 1884, 337 

Control and initiative in legisla- 
tion gradually passing from the 
House to the executive Govern- 
ment, with a corresponding 
decline in the power and use- 
fulness of the private member, 



Commons, House of — 

Hanoverian and Saxe - Coburg 
Period — 

Altered rules of procedure in the 
last two decades tend to en- 
hance the power of the 
Government, 330 
The Speaker's office, unfettered 
by the exigencies of party, 
and administered in the im- 
partial spirit characterising 
the later years of its existence, 
will endure as long as the 
Constitution itself, 339 
Compton, Sir Spencer, Earl of Wil- 
mington, Speaker in 1714-15, and 
1722, xxviii, XXX, xxxi, 252, 253, 
254. 394 
Compton Wynyates, Warwickshire, 
burial place of Speaker Compton, 
Conferences between Lords and 

Commons, 152-55, 178, 225 
Contests for the Chair, early instance 

of, 137 
Convention Parliament of 1660, 

215 ; 1688-89, 231 
Convocation House, Oxford, fitted up 
for the House of Commons in 
1680-81, 228 
Conway, Mr. L. Hussell Conway, 

Cordell, Sir William, Speaker in 

1557-58, xxix, 135, 378 
Cornwall, Charles Wolfran, Speaker 
in 1780 and 1784, xxviii, xxx, 282, 
283, 284, 285, 286, 398 
Cornwall, Earl of, Richard, 24 >, 
Corrupt Practices Act, 1883, 116 
Cottonian Library, Westminster, 275 
Council Chamber in old Palace of 

Westminster, 17 
County Franchise, qualification for, 

in 1429-30. 79 
Coup d'etat of February, 1 88 1, under 

Speaker Brand, 333 
Court and City Register, addresses 
of Members of Parliament, pub- 
lished in, 263 
Court and Country Parties, rise of, in 

English political history, 173 
Court Kalendar, 263 
Courts of Law, establishment of, in 
the old Palace of Westminster, 21 
Coventry, Lord Keeper, 181, 182 

Coventry, Parliament at, in 1404. 

69 ; in 1459. 83 
Coverham Church, Yorks, xxxiv 
Cranbrook, Kent, burial place of 

Speaker Baker, 130 
Creevey, Thomas, 290, 302, 305, 317 
Crewe, Earl of, xxxv, xl 
Crewe, Sir Randolph, Speaker in 

1614, xxviii, xxx, xxxv, 169, 382 
Crewe, Sir Thomas, Speaker in 1623- 

24 and 1625, xxviii, xxx, xxxv, 

169, 173. 382 
Croke, Sir John, Speaker in 1601, 

xxvii, 160, 161, 162, 382 
Cromwell, Mary, v. Falconbergh, 

Cromwell, Oliver, 176, 196, 198, 199, 

200, 201, 212, 224, 256 ; House 

of Lords set up by, in 1658, 200, 

Cromwell, Richard, 20i 
Cromwell, Thomas, 122, 125 
Crosby Hall, 96 
Crypt of St. Stephen's Chapel, 18; 

(formerly used as a coal-cellar) as 

the Speaker's State dining-room, 

292, 293 ; attempted destruction 

of, by dynamite, in 1884, 338 
Cullum, Mr. George Gery Milner- 

Gibson, xxix 
Cust, Sir John, Speaker in 1761 and 

1768, xxviii, xxx, 27s, 276, 396 


Dahl, Michael, painter, xxxv 
Danby, Lord, Thomas Osborne, 

afterwards 1st Duke of Leeds, 223, 

Dasent, Sir John Roche, Editor of 

the Acts of the Privy Council 

mentioned, 376 
Dasent, Sir George Webbe, the 

author's father, mentioned, x 
Davis, Moll, 254 

Dean's Yard, Westminster, viii, 20 
Debrett, John, printer of Parliamen- 
tary Debates, 264 
Declaration of Gloucester in 1407, 

D'Ewes, Sir Symonds, 34, 137, 156, 

185, 264, 378, 380, 382 
Defoe, Daniel, 247 
De la Mare, Peter, v. Mare, De la 
De La Hay Street, 10 



Delane, John, Editor of The 
Times, 123, 324, 325, 327 ; on the 
Speaker's office, 327 

De L'Isle, Robert, 37 

Denison, John Evelyn (Viscount 
Ossington), Speaker in 1857, 1859, 
1866 and 1868, XXX, xxxj, 160, 325, 
326, 327, 328, 330, 331, 332 

De Thorpe, William, xxxvii 

Desmond's rebellion in Ireland, 145 

Despencer, Le, Hugh, 37 

Dickenson, Dr., of Merton College, 
Oxford, 202, 209 

Dictionary of National Biography, 
important names added to, xxiii 

Digges, Dudley, 175 

Dignity of the Peerage, Report of 
Lord Shaftesbury's Committee on, 


Dillon Sir Lucas, Chief Baron of 
Ireland, temp. Elizabeth, 144 

Dining-room in the House of Com- 
mons, contains portrait of Speaker 
William Williams by Kneller, xxx ; 
collection of paintings being formed 
there, xxx 

Disagreements between Lords and 
Commons, in 1399, 38 ; in 1407, 
72; in 1592-93, ISI. 152. 153. 
154; in 1628, 177 ; in 1671, 221 ; 
in 1675, 225; in 1700, 236; in 
1909, 38 

Disorder having arisen in committee 
of the whole House, Speaker re- 
sumes the Chair, 224 

Disraeli, Benjamin, Earl of Beacons- 
field, 313, 328, 332, 334 

Division of Lords and Commons into 
two bodies, temp. Edward III, 31 

Divisions of the House of Commons, 
officially recorded since 1836, 265 

Doggett's Coat and Badge, Speaker 
leaves the Chair to witness the race 
for, 311 

Dorewood, John, Speaker in 1399 and 
1413, xxiii, xxxvii, 63, 352 

Downing Street, Speaker Cust lives 
in, 276 

Dress in the House of Commons, 220, 
280, 281 

Drury, Sir Robert, Speaker in 1495, 
xxvi, io6, 107, 372 

Drury Lane, 107 

Dublin, letter from Speaker Snagge 
at, 144 

Dudley, Edmond, Speaker in 1503- 
04, xxxvi, 107, 113, 331, 372 

Duel between Pitt and Tierney on 
Wimbledon Common in 1798, wit- 
nessed by the Speaker, 290 

Duncombe, Anthony, 256 

Dundas, Henry, afterwards Viscount 
Melville, 291 

Dunfermline, Lord, v. Abercromby 

Dyer, Sir James, Speaker in 1552-53, 
xxvii, xxviii, 132, 376 

Dynamite explosions in Palace of 
Westminster, 1884, 337 

Dyson, Jeremiah, Clerk of the House 
of Commons, 1747-62, xxxiii, 269, 

Earle, Mr. J. G., xl 

Easton Mauduit, Northants, 158 

Eastwell Church, Kent, xxxiv 

Ebury, or Eybury, 10 

Edenestowe, Henry de, Clerk of the 

Parliaments in 1330, 33 
Edward, The Black Prince, 39, 50, 

Edward the Confessor, 5, 17, 18 
Edward I, King of England, 27, 121 
Edward II, King of England, 16, 36 
Edward HI, King of England, 50 
Edward IV, King of England, 91, 

92, 93 
Edward V, King of England, 95 
Edward VI, King of England, 129, 

132, 133 
Edward VII, King of England, 93 
Eland, Rev. C. T., xl 
Elcho, Lord, now Earl of Wemyss, 

Eleanor of Provence, 24 
Eliot, Sir John, 175, 176 
Elizabeth, Queen of England, 130, 

139, 141. 142, 144, 148, 150, 151, 

161, 163 
Elliot, Sir Gilbert, a candidate for 

the Chair in 1789, 287, 290 
Elms, The, (Dean's Yard, West- 
minster) ; 20 
Elsynge, Henry, Clerk of the House 

of Commons 1640-48, 41, 174, 

186, 188, 193 
Ely Cathedral ; tomb of John Tiptoft, 

Earl of Worcester, in, xxxii, 70 
Embankment, the Thames, 12 



Empson, Sir Richard, Speaker in 
1491, xxxvi, 105, 106, 107, 113, 

Englefield, Sir Thomas, Speaker in 
1496-97 and 1509-10, xxiii, xxxvii, 

107. 113. 303. 372 
English Primitives, paintings by, in 

country houses, xxii 
Erskine, Mr. H. D., of Cardross 

(Serjeant-at-Arms), xxx, xxxix, xl 
Erskine-May, Sir Thomas, v. May 
Esturmy, or Sturmy, Sir William, 

Speaker in 1404,69, 354 
Etaples, Peace of, 105 
Eton, 76, 211, 276, 286, 287 
Evans, Elizabeth, wife of Speaker 

Lenthall, 184 
Evelyn, John, 225 
Evelyn, George, 227 
Evelyn, Sir Edward, 227 
Eversley, Viscount, v. Shaw-Lefevre, 

Ewelme, Oxfordshire, burial place of 

Speaker Chaucer, xxv, 71 
Exchequer, Office of, 7, 119 
Exclusion Bill of i860, 228 
Eye, or Aye, Cross, 10 
Exeter, burial place of Speaker 

Bampfylde, 387 
Experimental meeting of the House 

in the new Chamber, May 30, 1850, 



Faber, Johann, engraver, xxxv 
Fairfax, General, brother-in-law of 

Speaker Widdrington, 21 
Faithorne, William, engraver, xxxv 
Falconbergh House, Soho Square, 

former residence of Speaker Arthur 

Onslow, xxxix, 256 
Falconbergh, Mary, Lady, Oliver 

Cromwell's daughter, 256 
Falkland, Viscount, Lucius Cary, 184, 

Farleigh Castle, Somerset, seat of the 

Hungerford family, xxiv, 53 
Farleigh - Hungerford, Somerset, 

burial place of Sir Thomas 

Hungerford, Speaker in 1376-77, 

xxiv, xxvi, 53 
Fawkes, Guy, 169 
Felstead Church, Essex, xxxiv ; burial 

place of Speaker Rich, 127 
Felton, John, 171 

Fenwick, Sir John, 237 

Fermerie at Leicester, meeting-place 
of the House of Commons 1414, 74 

Fiennes, Mr, 193 

Financial supremacy of the House of 
Commons, asserted in the Declara- 
tion of Gloucester, 1407, 72 

Finch, Sir Heneage, Speaker in 
1625-26, xxviii, xxix, xxxiv, I7S> 

Finch, Sir John, Speaker in 1627-28, 
xxviii, xxix, xxxi, xxxv, 176, 177, 
182, 384 

Fire at old Palace of Westminster in 
1512, 118; in 1834, 17, 311, 312, 

FitzWilliara, Sir Thomas, Speaker 

in 148S-89, xxiii, xxxvii, 105, 370, 

Five members, attempted arrest of, by 

Charles I, 190 
Fleet Ditch, 119 
Fleet Prison, 83 
Flower, Roger, Speaker in 1417, 

1419, 1422, xxxvii, 75, 358 
Foley, Mr. Paul Henry, xxii 
Foley, Paul, Speaker in 1694-95 ^"^d 

1695, xxviii, 223 ; miniature of, 

Foley, Richard, 232 
Foley, Thomas, 232 , 
Forster, John, " biographer of 

Dickens," 193 
Fortescue, Sir John, 206 
Fox, Charles James, 279, 280, 285 
Frankland, Sir Thomas, 256 
Franchise Act of 1884, 330 
Free Trade and Protection in the 

reign of Queen Anne, 248 
Furness, abbot of, 13 

Gainsborough, Thomas, xxx 

Gallows, the new, beyond the Tem- 
ple Gate, 75 

Gardener's Lane, 10, 12 

Gardiner, S. R., Dr., opinion of 
Lenthall, 187 

Gardiner, Sir Thomas, 184 

Gargrave, Sir Thomas, Speaker in 
1558-59, xxix, 378 

Gascony, 17, 24 

Gasquet's Henry III and the Church, 
referred to, 35 



Gatton, Surrey, 175 

Gaunt, John of, 50, J I 

Gentlemen Errant, by Mrs. Henry 

Cust, quoted, 118 
"George," The, by Paul's Wharf, 89 
George I, King of England, 251, 253 
George II, King of England, 253 
George III, King of England, 271, 

275. 279, 287, 300, 301 
George IV, ICing of England, 50 
Gillray, James, caricature by, xxxix 
Gladstone, Rt. Hon. W. E., 309, 313, 

323, 335. 336, 337, 339 
GlanviUe, Sir John, Speaker in 1640, 

xxvii, xxxi, 182, 183, 384 
Gloucester, Parliament held at, in 

1407, 72 
Golden Square, town residence of 

Speaker Cornwall, 285 
"Good " Parliament of 1376, 49 
Gordon, Thomas, translator of Taci- 
tus, compiles Parliamentary De- 
bates for the London Magazine, 

Gorhambury, estate purchased by 

Sir Harbottle Grimston, 2:4 
Goring House, now Buckingham 

Palace, occupied by Speaker 

Lenthall, 190, 196 
Goring, Lord, afterwards Earl of 

Norwich, 198 
Goschen, Lord, 335 
Goulburn, Henry, a candidate for 

the Chair in 1839, 321 
Government and Opposition Benches 

in Elizabethan times, 138 ; in the 

reign of George II, 262 
Grant, Sir F., xxxi 
Grant, Sir William, 136 
Grantley, Lord, xxix 
Granville, 2nd Earl, 334 ; 
Grattan, Henry, 304, 331 
Gray's Inn, Speaker Snagge at, with 

Walsingham and Burghley, 143 
Great College Street, 7, 10, 12 
Great George Street, 19 
Great Linford Church, Bucks, xxv 
Great Russell Street, death of Speaker 

Arthur Onslow in, 273 
Great Smith Street, 10 
"Great Tom" of Westminster, 104 
Green, Sir Henry (Chief Justice), 

xxxvii, 41, 57, 346 
Green, John, Speaker in 1460, xxiii, 

xxxvii, 81, 85, 366 

Greensted, Mr. Henry, xl 

Gregory, Mr., xxviii 

Gregory, Sir William, Speaker in, 

1678-79, xxviii, XXX, 227, 388 
Grenville, George, 276 
Grenville, William Wyndham (Lord 

Grenville), Speaker in 1789, xxvii, 

xxviii, xxxi, xxxv, 286, 287, 288, 

289, 398 
Greville, Charles, 307, 314 
Greville Memoirs quoted, 309, 314, 

3,16, 318 
Grey, Lady Jane, 133 
Grey de Ruthyn, Lord, 80 
Grimston, Sir Harbottle, Speaker in 

1660, xxvii, xxviii, xxxi, xxxv, 

214, 215, 388 
Grimthorpe, Lord, 163 
Guildesborough, Sir John, Speaker 

in 1379-80, xxiii, xxxvii, 33, 54, 


Guildhall, the, xxviii 

Guillotine orders, regulating the pro- 
cedure of the House on Bills and 
Supply, 336 

Gully, William Court (Viscount 
Selljy), Speaker in 1895 (2), 1900, 
xxxi, 338, 412 

Gunpowder Plot, The, 166, 169 

Gwynne, Nell, 206 


Habeas Corpus Act, of 1679, 388 
Haden, Sir Francis Seymour, the 

late, xxxviii 
Hakewil, William, 30, 34, 178 
Hale, Sir Matthew, 183 
Halifax, Earl of, Charles Montagu, 

Hall, Sir Benjamin, First Com- 
missioner of Works, 103 
Halloran, Rev. J. A., xl 
Hampden, John, 177, 183, 190 
Hampden, Viscount, v. Brand, Henry 
Hampton Court Palace, proposals 
between Charles I and the Parlia- 
ment, 1647, 196 
Hampton Court, Herefordshire, 
property of Speaker Lenthall, 195 
Hanbury- Williams, Sir Charles, 253 
Hanmer, Sir Thomas, Speaker in 
1713-14, xxviii, XXX, xxxi, 246, 
248, 249, 250, 332, 394 
Harbord, Mr., 223 



Harding, S. P., xxvii 

Harding, Sylvester, v. Harding, S. P. 

Hardinge, Nicholas, Clerk of the 
House of Commons, 267 

Hare, Sir Nicholas, Speaker in 1539, 
xxxvii, 127, 376 

Haringay, Speaker Thorpe beheaded 
at, 83 

Harford, North Devon, burial place 
of Speaker Thomas Williams, xxv, 

Harley, Robert (Earl of Oxford), 
Speaker in 1700-01, 1701, and 
1702, xxvii, xxviii, xxxi, 236, 238, 
239, 240, 246, 331, 390, 392 

Harling, East, Norfolk, home of 
Speaker Lovell, 105 

Harman, family of, owners of Bur- 
ford Priory, 205, 206 

Hartley, David, 285 

Hasely, Oxfordshire, birthplace of 
Speaker Lenthall, 184 

Hastings, Sir Francis, 165 

Hatton, Sir Christopher, 141, 163, 

Hatfield House, Herts, plans of 
Westminster Palace in 1593 pre- 
served at, 119 

Hatsell, John, Clerk of the House of 
Commons, xxxviii, 253, 258, 289 

Haxey, Sir Thomas, 56, 166 

Hay or Aye Hill, 10 

Hazlerig, Arthur, 190, 201 

H. B., caricatures by, xxxix 

Heigham, Sir Clement, Speaker in 
1554, xxvii, xxxiv, 133, 134, 376 

Henley in Arden, 36 

Henley, Thomas, Abbot of West- 
minster, 37 

Henry III, King of England, 4, 5, 
6, 7, n, 19, 24, 28, 45 

Henry IV, King of England, 56, 57, 
59, 60, 61, 62, 64, 66, 67, 68, 69, 

72, 73. 74, 161 

Henry V, King of England, 74, 76 

Henry VI, King of England, 76, 79, 
81, 83, 85, 86 

Henry VII, King of England, 99, 
100, loi, 102, 104, 105, 107, 109, 
1 10 ; virith Empson and Dudley, 
painting of, xxvi ; Chapel, West- 
minster, xxii 

Henry VIII, King of England, 113, 
114, 117, 121, 122, 126, 128, 129 

Henry of Knighton's Chronicle, 36 

Herbary, The, "between the King's 
Chamber and the Church," 11 

Herschell, Lord, 338 

Hervey, Lord, 253 

Higham, Mr. John, of Bedford, xxvii 

Highclere, Hants, seat of Sir Robert 
Sawyer, Speaker in 1678, 226 

High Gate of the Palace of West- 
minster, 19 

Hoby, Sir Edward, 165 

Hogarth, William, paints interior of 
the House of Commons, xxxiv, 

Holbein, Hans, drawing after, xxviii ; 
portrait of Sir Thomas More, 194 

HoII, Frank, xxxi 

Holland, Rev. C. W., xl 

Hollar, Wenceslaus, engraver, xxxviii 

Holies, Denzil, 190 

Holmes, Mr. C. J., xl 

Holywell, Nunnery of, Shoreditch, 

Hooker's description of the House 
of Commons in the reign of Eliza- 
beth, 138 ; remarks on publica- 
tion of proceedings of the House, 

Hours of meeting of the House of 
Commons in former times — at sun- 
rise in the fourteenth century, 
49; at 6 a.m., 159; at 7 a.m., 

House of Commons, v. Commons 
House of Lords, v. Lords 
Howard's Coffee House, at upper end 

of Westminster Hall, 295 
"Hudibras," quoted in connection 

with Speaker Lenthal, 201 
Hulton, Rev. C. B., xl 
Hume, Joseph, 324 
Humphreys, Mr. A. L., xl 
Hungerford, Sir Thomas, Speaker in 

1376-77 ; first Speaker mentioned 

in the Rolls, xxiv ; monumental 

efiigy of, xxvi ; portrait of, xxvi ; 

xxvii, 33, 52, 53, 348 
Hungerford, Sir Walter (Lord 

Hungerford), Speaker in 1414, 

xxiv, 74, 75, 356 
Hunsdon House, Herts, seat of 

Speaker Oldhall, 82 
Hunt, Roger, Speaker in 1420 and 

I433i 358, 360 ; memorial brass of, 

Hustings in Trafalgar Square, a 



Hutton-Hall, Rev. E., xl 

Hylton, Lord, xl 

Hysing, Hans, painter, xxxv 

Iddesleigh, Earl of, xl 

Ilbert, Sir Courtenay, Clerk of the 
House of Commons, from 1902, xi, 

Ilmington, Warwickshire, owned by 
Peter de Montfort, 343 

Imber Court, Thames Ditton, resi- 
dence of Speaker Arthur Onslow, 

Impeachment of Lord Melville, 
Speaker Abbot's casting vote, 298 

Income Tax, sought to be imposed 
on all owners of land and house 
property, temp. Henry IV, 65 ; 
institution of, in an inquisitorial 
form, by Edward IV, 92 

Infirmary garden of St. Peter's 
Monastery, 12 

Inner Palace of Westminster, Con- 
stable of England's apartments in, 

Inns, wretched accommodation af- 
forded by, in the Middle Ages, 26 

" Instrument of Government," 200 

Intimidation of voters in mediaeval 
times, 114 

Inundations of the Thames at West- 
minster in former times, 12 

Ireland, early mention of in English 
Parliament, 29 ; Speaker of the 
Irish House of Commons, 97, 138 ; 
great debate on the state of, in 
1812, 304, 30S ; demand for Home 
Rule, rejected in 1886 and 1893, 

Irish House of Commons, Speakers 
of, 97 

Islip, John, Abbot of Westminster, 

Ivy Bridge, Strand, 142 

James I, King of England, 165, 172 
James II, King of England, 229, 

Jeffreys, Judge, 222, 229, 230 
Jermyn Street, residence of Mr. 

Gladstone in, on first entry into 

Parliament, 310 

Jerusalem Chamber, Westminster 
Abbey, 74 

Jewel Office, 282 

Jewel Tower of the Palace of West- 
minster, the, illustration of, from 
a drawing, xxxviii ; view of the 
interior, xxxviii, 7 

"Jew's Harp," Marylebone Fields, 

Jodrell, Paul, Clerk of the House of 
Commons, 242, 274 

John, King of England, 4 

Jonson, Ben, his description of a 
dishonest lawyer applied to Sir 
Fletcher Norton by "Junius," 

Journals of the House of Commons, 
defaced by James I, 172; ordered 
to be printed in 1 742, under Speaker 
Arthur Onslow, 267 ; Sir Symonds 
D'Ewes prints portions of Eliza- 
bethan Journals, 147 ; antiquity 
of, 267 ; curious entries in, temp. 
James I, 268 ; improvements in, 
269 ; indexed by Sir T. Erskine 
May, 268 

Journals, Clerk of the, first mention 
of, in 1750, 266 

"Junius" and Sir Fletcher Norton, 


Katherine of Arragon, Queen of 
England, 123 

Keate, Dr. , head master of Eton, 309 

Kenilworth, 37 

Kettle, Mr. Bernard, of the Guild- 
hall Library, xxix 

Kew, residence of Speaker Pucker- 
ing, 142 

King Street, Covent Garden, 190 

Kingston, Jamaica, mace at, 215 

King Street, Westminster, 1 1 

Kneller, Sir Godfrey, portrait of 
Speaker William Williams, in the 
Dining-room of the House of Com- 
mons, XXX ; portrait of Speaker 
Arthur Onslow in National Portrait 
Gallery, erroneously attributed to, 

Knightsbridge, Speaker Trevor's es- 
tate at, 230 

Knights of the Shire, the aristocracy 
of the Lower House, 18, 22, 23, 
2S, 79 



Knollys, Sir Francis, 150 
Knyvet, Sir John (Chancellor), 51, 


Labouchere, Henry, Rt. Hon., his 
house in Old Palace Yard, 8 

Labour, representation of, in the 
House of Commons, 330 

Ladies' Galleryof House of Commons, 
280, 301, 337 

Lambe, John, Dr., 181 

Lambert, John, Parliamentary 
General, 199, 201, 202 

Lambeth Palace, xxxi ; fall of en- 
graving at, xxxii, 14 

Landor, Walter Savage, Imaginary 
Conversations, 67 

Land taxes, early unpopularity of the 
principle, 43, 66, 235 

Langham, Simon, Abbot of West- 
minster, Cardinal and Archbishop, 
Preface, viii, 42, 43 

Langland's " Richard the Redeless," 

Late hours in the House of Commons 
and late hours of meeting strenu- 
ously opposed by Speaker Arthur 
Onslow, 270, 271 

La Terriere, Colonel, restores Burford 
Priory, Lenthall's former house, 

Latimer, Lord, impeachment of, in 
1376, SI 

Laud, William, Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, xxxii, 189, 213 

Law, firm grip of the Speaker's 
Chair by the legal profession, 135 

Law and Practice of Parliament, by 
Sir Thomas Erskine-May, 268 

Law in Ireland, Speaker Snagge's 
opinion of, temp. Elizabeth, 144, 


Lawrence, Sir Thomas, xxxi, xxxiv, 
303 ; portrait of George III by, 
formerly at Westminster, 301 

Lawson, Wilfrid, Mr., 157 

Layard, Sir Austen Henry, 328, 329 

Lefevre-Shaw, Charles (Viscount 
Eversley), Speaker in 1839, 1841, 
1847, and 1852, 318, 319, 320, 
321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 329, 406 

Leicester, Earl of, v. Montfort, De, 

Leicester, Earl of, xxix 

Leicester, Parliament held at, in 

1414, 74 
Leicester Street, Leicester Square, 
Speaker Arthur Onslow's house in, 

Lely, Sir Peter, xxix, xxxi 

Le Marchant, Sir Denis, Clerk of the 

House of Commons from 1850 to 

1871, 289 
Lenthall, Sir John, 190, 203, 206 
Lenthall, Sir Roland, 195 
Lenthall, William, Speaker in 1640 

1647, 1654, 1659, 1659-60, xxvii, 

xxxi, xxxiii, 184-210, 384, 386 
Le Scrope, Sir Geoffrey, xxxiv, xxxvii 
Le Sueur, Hubert, sculptor, xxxiii, 

Lesser Tenants in Chief, or Barones 

Minores, 22 
Leveson-Gower, Frederick, 334 
Lewin, William, 150 
Lewkenor, Mr. 181 
Ley, John, Clerk of the House of 

Commons from 1797 to 1814, 289, 

Ley, John Henry, Clerk of the House 

of Commons from 1820 to 1850, 

289, 312, 313 
Ley, William, 313 
Ley, a Devonshire family of that 

name connected with the House 

of Commons for 150 years, 289, 


Library of the House of Commons, 
books and papers formerly in the 
custody of the Clerk of the Jour- 
nals, 267 

Lincoln, 4 

Lincoln's Inn, the gateway of, built 
by Speaker Lovell, 103 

Lincoln's Inn Fields, 202, 215, 281 

Litlington, Nicholas, Abbot of West- 
minster, 44, 45, 47 

Little Hall, in old Palace of West- 
minster, 17, 48 

Littleton, Edward John (afterwards 
Lord Hatherton), a candidate for 
the Chair in 1833, 309 

Littleton, Sir Thomas, Speaker in 
1698, XXX, 223, 233, 234, 236, 237, 
238, 239, 390 

Liverpool, Earl of, 285 

Livery and maintenance, evils of, 

Lollards, The, 69 



London, Sir Robert Brooke, the first 
Speaker to represent the City of, 
Long Ditch, Westminster, 11, 12 
Long Parliament assembles, 183 
Long, Sir Lislebone, Speaker in, 

1658-59, xxxvii, 213, 386 
Longford, Lord, 227 
Lords — 

Lords, House of, viii ; the parent 
assembly, 22 
A body lineally descended from 
the feudal Norman Curia, 22 
The writ of summons to, a privi- 
lege to be issued or withheld 
at the will of the Sovereign, 

Constitution of in Plantagenet 
times, the non-hereditary ele- 
ment a moiety of the whole 
until the Reformation, 28 

Separation of the two Houses, 
usually accepted date of, 3 1 

The Upper House appoints its 
own Clerk in 1330, 33 

" The Mad Parliament " of Ox- 
ford in 1258, a restricted 
assembly of Barons and Pre- 
lates, 35 

Grants made by the Lords in 
1339, and disagreement with 
the Commons, lead to the call- 
ing of a New Parliament, 


The Deadlock of 1339 not dis- 
similar to that of 1909, 39 

The Lords meet in the Chambre 
Blanche of the Palace of 
Westminster in 1368, 43 

The Speaker of the House of 
Commons (Sir Thomas Hun- 
gerford) delivers seven Bills 
to the Clerk of the Parliament 
in 1376-77, but the Lords 
vouchsafe no reply, the session 
having come to an end, 53 

Consolidation of the Peerage, 
temp. Henry IV, and a re- 
markable unanimity prevailing 
between Lords and Commons, 

Establishment of a permanent 
hereditary Chamber acting as 
■a. Court of Appeal in civil 
cases, 64 

Lords, House of — 

King Henry IV invites both 
Lords and Commons to dine 
with him at Westminster in 
1402, 65 

Social reunion of the two 
Houses in Plantagenet times 
contrasted with the recent 
scheme for two Chambers 
sitting as one deliberative 
body, in cases of deadlock. 

The Declaration of Gloucester, 
in 1407, defines the functions 
of the Lords in assenting to 
money grants, 72, 73 

Exhaustion of the English no- 
bility consequent on the Wars 
of the Roses, 87 

Depletion of the numbers of the 
House of Lords at the com- 
mencement of the Tudor era, 


Only twenty-nine temporal peers 
entitled to sit at the accession 
of Henry VII, 100 

The peerages created in the six- 
teenth century lay the founda- 
tions of a new aristocracy, 

Henry VII relegates the House 
of Lords to a position of legis- 
lative impotence, at the same 
time desiring to be indepen- 
dent of the Lower House, 101 

The temporary eclipse of the 
Lords as a legislative body 
continued under Henry VIII, 

A serious disagreement with the 
Commons in 1593, i"^ connec- 
tion with a Money Bill, 151 

Sir Francis Bacon, on behalf of 
the Commons, opposes a con- 
ference with the Lords, as 
contrary to their privileges, 

The conference held, and the 
wording of the preamble of 
the Bill decided in favour of 
the Lords, 155 

The Bill hurriedly passed by the 
Commons through the action 
of its Speaker (Sir Edward 
Coke), 156 



Lords, House of — 

In :625 the Lords concur in a 
Money Bill, founded upon a 
grant to which their assent 
had not been specified in the 
preamble, 178 
In 1628 the wording of the pre- 
amble of a Money Bill again 
gives rise to serious disagree- 
ment between the two Houses, 
a deadlock averted by the 
Lords passing the Bill as pre- 
sented to them, after a con- 
ference with the Commons, 
A message sent to the Lords by 
the Commo'ns declaring that 
"the good concurrence be- 
tween the two Houses is the 
very heart-string of the Com- 
monwealth, and that they shall 
be ever as zealous of their 
Lordships' privileges as of 
their own rights," 180 
Cromwell's House of Lords meets 
in January, 1658, Lenthall, the 
Speaker of the Long Parlia- 
ment, takes his place in it, 
together withFleetwood,Monk 
and Pride, 20 1 
In 1671 the Pensionary Parlia- 
ment of Charles II passes a 
formal resolution to the effect 
that the Lords are unable to 
amend a Money Bill, 221 
In 1675 the relations of the two 
Houses again become strained, 
and the Lords accuse the re- 
presentative Chamber of in- 
fringing their privileges, 225 
Queen Anne creates a dozen 
peers to ensure a Tory majority 
in the House of Lords, 234 ; 
Lord Wharton's sarcastic ob- 
servations upon, 234 
The House of Lords most com- 
pact body in the State at 
the accession of George I, 
Several bills having been rejected 
by the Lords in the last Parlia- 
ment of George II, the Speaker 
of the House of Commons de- 
sired to have animadverted 
upon the cause of their failure, 

Lords, House of — 

but was prevented from doing 
so by the accidental absence of 
the Sovereign, 272 
A Bill for the repeal of the paper 
duty having been rejected by 
the Lords in i860. Speaker 
Denison deprecates the action 
of the Peers as calculated 
to break down the distinc- 
tion between the duties and 
powers of the two Chambers, 
Lovell, Sir Thomas, Speaker in 1485, 
102, 103, 104, 105, 370, 419, 420 ; 
medallion portrait of, by Torre- 
giano, in Westminster Abbey, xxii, 
Lowe, Robert (Viscount Sherbrooke), 

Lowther, Right Hon. James Wilham, 
Speaker in 1905, 1906, 1910, and 
1911, XXX, 339, 412, 414 


Macaulay, Lord, on conferences be- 
tween the two Houses, 155 

Mace of the House of Commons ; 
description of, xxxix ; 215 

"Mad" Parliament of 1258, held at 
Oxford, 35, 342 

Maiden Bradley, xxxv 

Maitland, Professor, his introduction 
to the Memoranda de Parlia- 
mento, 29 

Mall, The, 112 

Manners, Lady Victoria, xl 

Manners-Sutton, Charles (Viscount 
Canterbury), Speaker in 1817, 1819, 
1820, 1826, 1830, 1831, and 1833, 
xxix, XXX, xxxi, 281, 301, 304, 305, 
306, 307, 308, 309, 310, 311, 314, 
315. 316, 317, 402, 404 

Marculph's Tower, Palace of West- 
minster, 17 

Mare, Sir Peter De la. Speaker in 
1377, xxxvii, 33, 50, SI, 52, S3, 

54. 348 
Margaret of Anjou, Queen of Henry 

VI, 86 
Marlowe's Edward II, reference 

to Trussell in, 37 
Marshall, Master, 189 



Marston Morteyne, Beds, burial 

place of Speaker Snagge, xxvi, 146 
Mary, Queen of England, 133, 134, 

Mary, Queen of Scots, 139, 141 
Maud, Empress, 12 
Maundy, Thomas, goldsmith in 

Fetter Lane, maker of the mace 

removed by Cromwell, 215 
May-Erskine, Sir Thomas (Lord 

Farnborough), Clerk of the House 

of Commons from 1871 to 1886, x, 

242, 268, 289, 310, 311 
Mayo, Rev. Canon, of Long Burton, 

Melbourne, Lord, 313 
Melville, Lord, impeachment of, 

decided by casting vote of Speaker 

Abbot, 298 
Member of Parliament, early uses of 

the term, 75, 128 
Memoranda de Parliamento, 1304-05, 

Memorial Brasses, xxii, xxv 
Metes, Sir Thomas, 226 
Mereworth, Kent, burial place of 

Speaker Nevill, xxv, 375 
Merchant Taylors Company, 168 
Merrow, near Guildford, burial 

place of Speaker Arthur Onslow, 

"Michael Ritus," v. John Michael 

Middlesex, Earl of, impeachment, 


Mildmay, Sir H., 185 

Mileham, near Swaffham, Norfolk, 
birthplace of Sir Edward Coke, 
house in which he was born, xxxix 

Millbank, 10, 19 

Millyng, Thomas, Abbot of West- 
minster, 95 

Milman, Sir Archibald, Clerk of the 
House of Commons from 1900 to 
1902, 289 

Milner, Mr. J. D., xl 

Mitford, Sir John (Lord Redesdale), 
Speaker in 1801, xxviii, xxx, 294, 

Mompesson, Sir Onles, 171 

" Model " Parliament of 1295, 27 

Monastery of Blackfriars, v. Black- 

Monastery of Westminster, v. West- 

. minster 

Monconys, description of the House 

of Commons in 1663, 220, 221 
Money Bills, Speaker Arthur Onslow's 

attitude on presentation to the 

House of Lords, 272 
Money grants, differences between 

Lords and Commons as to, in 

Gloucester Parliament of 1407, 72 ; 

in 1593, 152; in 1628, 178; in 

1671, 221 
Monk, General, 2or, 202, 203 
Monopolies, 136, 137, 171 
Montacute, co. Somerset, built by 

Speaker Phelips, xxxix, 165, 

Montagu, Sir Henry, 165 
Monteagle, Lord, Thomas Spring 

Rice, 319 
Montfort, de, Peter, xxiii, xxxvii, 33, 

34. 35 

Montfort, de, Simon, S, 23, 24, 27, 

35, 36 ; his coat of arms remaining 
in the Abbey, 5 

Monumental Effigies of Speakers, 

Moore, Thomas, 306 
Mordaunt, Sir John, Speaker in 1487, 

monumental effigy of, xxvi ; 105, 

Morecambe Bay, 13 
More, Sir Thomas, Speaker in 1523, 

xxviii, xxx, XXXV, xxxvi, 49, 120, 

I2r, 122, 123, 124, 331, 374, 421, 

422 ; portrait of, formerly at Burford 

Priory, 194 
Morley's Life of Gladstone, 333 
Morpeth, Lord, 302 
Morris, Mr., 150 
" Mother of Parliaments, The," 


Mowbray, John, Earl-Marshal of 

England, 78 
Moyle, Sir Thomas, Speaker in 1541- 

xxxiv, xxxvii, 42, 128, 376 
Murray, Alexander, defies Speaker 

Arthur Onslow in 175 1, 269 
Myddleton, Mrs., of Chirk Castle, 



National Portrait Gallery : library 
of, xxiv, xxvii ; album of water- 
colour drawings of Speakers in, 
xxiv, xxvii, xxxviii 



Nelson, Horatio, Admiral, memorial 

to, in Trafalgar Square, 113 ; Lady 

Sidmouth's ancedote of, 293 
Nevill, Sir Henry, 165 
Nevill, Sir Thomas, Speaker in 

1514-15, 119, 173, 374; memorial 

brass of, xxv 
Newcastle, Duke of, 253 
Newgate Prison, 270 
New Palace Yard, Westminster, view 

of, xxxviii ; 9, 20 
Newspaper Press, rise of the power 

of, 260 
Neyte, Manor House of, belonging 

to the Abbots of Westminster, 

Norfolk, Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke 

of, 129 
Norman masonry remaining in 

Westminster Hall, 8 
North, Lord, 276, 279, 280, 281 
North, Roger, 222, 233 
North, Mr. Stanley, xxiv 
Northampton, Mary, Countess of, 


Northcote, James, painter and en- 
graver, XXXV 

Northumberland, Duke of, 133 

Northumberland, Earl of, thanked 
by Parliament in 1402, 64 

Norton, Sir Fletcher (Lord Grantley), 
Speaker in 1770 and 1774, xxviii, 
xxix, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 
282, 396, 398 

Nottingham Castle, Sir Peter de la 
Mare imprisoned in, 52 


Occasional Conformity Bill of 1703, 

O'Connell, Daniel, 306, 3r6 

Official residence of the Speaker, in 
1511-12, 117; in the seventeenth 
century, 136; in 1795, 292; in 
1802, 300 ; new house, designed by 
Sir Charles Barry, first occupied 
by Speaker Denison, 332 

Oglethorpe, Mr., 241 

Old and new peerages, Selden's 
opinion of, 177 

Oldcastle, Sir John, 75 

"Old Cole," a nickname bestowed 
on Tierney, 317 

Oldhall, Sir William, Speaker in 
1450, xxxvii, 81, 82, 83, 364 

Old Palace Yard, Westminster, 19, 
20, 71, 169 

OUver Isaac, 123 

Onslow, Arthur, grandfather of the 
Speaker of that name, 227 

Onslow, Arthur, Speaker in 1727-28, 

1734-35. 1741, 1747. and '754. 

xxvii, xxviii, xxxi, xxxiv, xxxv, 

xxxviii ; view of his house in Soho 

Square, xxxix ; 255-274, 394, 396 
Onslow, Earl of, xxxiii, xl 
Onslow, Fulk, Clerk of the House of 

Commons, 137, 160 
Onslow, Richard, Speaker in 15661 

xxviii, XXX, 137, 139, 378 
Onslow, Sir Richard, Speaker in 

1708, xxviii, XXX, 239, 241, 242, 


Opposition, early rise of a constitu- 
tional, temp. Henry VI, 8i 

Orchardson, Sir W. Q,, xxxi 

Order in debate, rules adopted in 
1888, 335 

Order, maintenance of, in the Palace 
of Westminster, regulations, temp. 
Edward III, 31 

Orders regulating the procedure of 
the House on Bills and Supply, 

Oriel College, Oxford, xxxv 

Ossington, Viscount, v. Denison, 
John Evelyn 

Otway, Mr., 328 

Owen, William, painter, xxxv 

Oxford, xxxii, xxxv ; a colloquium 
held there in 1204, 4 ; provisions 
ofi 35 > assizes at, 139 ; Parlia- 
ments at, 35, 228, 342, 390 

Painted Chamber in the Old Palace 
of Westminister, 17, 48, 49, 96, 
118, 155, 178, 218, 225, 274, 296, 

297, 313 
Paisley, Lord, James Hamilton, 207 
Palace of Westminster, v. West- 
Palace Gate, Westminster, 17 
Palgrave, Sir Reginald, Clerk of the 
House of Commons from 1886 to 
1900, 289 



Pall Mall, 246 

Palmerston, Viscount, x, 324, 325, 

326, 328, 329 
Paris, Matthew, 12 
Parliament held at Blackfriars, 119, 

120, 374; Bury St. Edmund's, 362 ; 

Coventry, 69, 354, 366 ; Gloucester, 

72. 348, 354; Leicester, 74, 356, 

360 ; Lincoln, 4 ; Northampton, 

348 ; Oxford, 4, 35, 228, 342, 390 ; 

Reading, 364 ; Shrewsbury, 350 ; 

Winchester, 45 ; York, 32, 352, 

" Parliamentary Indoctorum, "or Lay- 
men's Parliament, held at Coventry, 

14.04, 3SS 
Parliament Street, xxxix 
Parndon, Little, Essex, burial place 

of Speaker Tumour, 219 
Party government, rise of, 225, 

Paston family, co. Norfolk, 15, 87 

Agnes, 82 ; Elizabeth, 83 ; John, 

88-89; Margaret, 15 
Patten-Wilson, Mr., 322 
Payment of members in the Middle 

Ages, 88 
Pearson, J. L. , architect employed on 

Westminster Hall, temp. Queen 

Victoria, 8, 9 
Peart, Henry, pupil of Vandyck, 

xxxi, 210 
Peel, Arthur Wellesley (Viscount 

Peel), Speaker in 1884, 1886 (2), 

and 1892, xxxi, xl, 224, 334, 335, 

336, 337, 410, 412 
Peel, Sir Robert, 160, 313, 315, 322, 

Peerage and Pedigree, by J. Horace 

Round, 23 
Peerages, created by Queen Anne in 

1712 to secure a Tory majority in 

the House of Lords, 234 
Peerages old and new, Selden's 

opinion of the comparative value 

set upon them, 177 
Pelham, Dr., chaplain to Speaker 

Bromley, 245 
Pelham, Henry, Speaker in 1647, 

xxiii, xxix, 210, 214, 384 
Pembroke, 8th Earl of, 226 
Pembroke College, Oxford, xxviii, 


" Pensionary Parliament," 216, 222 
Pepys, Samuel, 216, 217, 218 

Ferrers, Alice, 50, 52, 53 

Pery, Edmond Sexten, Speaker of the 
Irish House of Commons, 1772-85, 

Petite Salle in the old Palace of West- 
minster, 43 

Petition of Right, 177 

Petitions, gradually replaced by Bills, 

Petitions, triers of (first mentioned in 

1304), 17, 343 
Peyton, Sir Robert, 228 
Phelips, Sir Edward, Speaker in 

1603-04, xxviii, xxix, xxxi, 165, 

166, 167, 168 
Phelips, Mr. William Robert, of 

Montacute, xxix 
Philip II of Spain, husband of Queen 

Mary, 133, 134, 135 
Phillips, Thomas, painter, xxxi, xxxv 
Picart, Charles, engraver, xxxv 
Pickering, Sir James, Speaker in 

1378, xxxvii, 33, 54, 55, 56, 

Pimlico, 19 
Pinkerton's Iconographica Scotica, 

plate in, supjrased to represent 

Edward I sitting in Parliament, 

Piozzi, Mrs., 277 
Pitt, William, Earl of Chatham, 260, 

Pitt, William, the younger, 290, 297, 

298, 299, 310 
Play House Yard, Blackfriars, 123 
Plate, service of, used by the Speaker, 
formerly his personal property, but 
now attached to the holder of the 
oifice for the time being, 246, 250, 

295. 324 

" Pleine Parlement,'' proposed rever- 
sion to, in case of disagreement 
between the two Houses, 65 

Plough Inn, Lincoln's Inn Fields, 

Podlicote, Richard, robs the Royal 
Treasury in Westminster Abbey in 

1303. S8 
Pole, Cardinal, 134 
Pole, William de la, 37 
Pollard, Sir John, Speaker in 1553 

and 1555, xxxvii, 133, 134, 376, 

Pollen, Richard, xxiv 
Poltimore, Lady, xl 



Poltimore, Lord, descended from 
Speaker Bampfylde, 213 

Poole, Mrs. S. L., xl 

Popham, Sir John, Speaker in 1449, 

Popham, Sir John, Speaker in 1580- 
81, xxvii, xxxiv, xxxvii, 139, 140, 

Porritt's Unreformed House of Com- 
mons quoted, 233, 266 

Portmore, Lord, 254 

Portraits, from church windows, 
xxii ; historical collection at Lam- 
beth Palace, xxxi ; ignorance of 
owners regarding their possessions, 
xxi ; list of Speakers of whom no 
portraits can be traced, xxxvi ; 
many unidentified in country- 
houses, xxii ; reasons why the 
present collection is of such in- 
terest, xxii 

Portsmouth and Plymouth, fortifica- 
tion of, in 1786, debate and casting 
vote of the Speaker, 283 

Powerscourt, Viscount, xl 

Powle, Henry, Speaker in 1688-89, 
xxviii, XXX, 231, 232, 390 

Poynings, Robert, sword-bearer to 
Jack Cade, 83 

Prayers in the House of Commons, 


Praemunire, Statute of, passed at 
Winchester in 1393, 4S 

Preamble of Bills of Supply, wording 
of, gives rise to differences between 
Lords and Commons, 152, 177 

Prerogative of the Crown, 75, 163, 
165, 174, 175. 178, 234 

Press Gallery, House of Commons, 
264, 266 

Pride, Thomas, 201 

Prideaux family, the, brass in colours 
to the memory of, xxv 

Pride's Purge, 196 

Primogeniture and Selection, evolu- 
tion of the Writ of Summons, 

Prince's Chamber, Palace of West- 
minster, 301 

Prince's Street, 10 

Princess of Wales requested to with- 
draw from the Gallery by Speaker 
Abbot, 301 

Printing House Square, Blackfriars, 

Priory Church, Malvern, xxvi 

Priflr John, of Burford, murdered in 
1697, 207 

Priory, Great Hall of, in Blackfriars, 
Parliaments held in, 120, 123 

Private Bill Office, instituted by 
Speaker Abbot in 181 1 and de- 
veloped by Speaker Abercromby, 

Privilege, 261 ; v. Commons, House 

Privy Garden, Whitehall, 285 
Procurator of Parliament, a title 

bestowed on some of the earlier 

presiding officers of the Commons , 


Prolocutor, a title bestowed on some 
of the earlier Speakers, 36 

"Provisions of Oxford," 35 

Prynne, William, 24, 25 

Public Record Office, 230 

Puckering, Sir John, Speaker in 1584 
and 1586, 140, 141, 142, 380; 
tomb of, xxvi 

Pulteney, Sir William, Earl of Bath, 
69, 261 

Purbrick, Father Edward, at Lam- 
beth Palace, xxxii 

Purveyance, 15 

Pym, John, 172, 175, 190, 191, 192, 

Pyx, Chapel of the, in Westminster 
Abbey, 27, 58 

Queen Anne's creation of peers in 
1712 to secure a Tory majority in 
the House of Lords, 234 

Quenington, Gloucestershire, burial 
place of Speaker Powle, 232 

Question to be put forthwith by the 
Chair, rules adopted in i88i and 
1882, and extended in 1887, 335 

Quorum of the House of Commons 
fixed by the Long Parliament, 188 


Radley, Berks, Canopy of Speaker 
Lenthall's chair preserved at, 195 

Radnor, Earl of, xl 

Raleigh, Sir Walter, 153, 154, 158, 



Reading, Parliament held at, 364 

Redesdale, Lord, v. Mitford, Sir John 

Redesdale, Lord, xxxiv, xl 

Redford, Sir Henry, Speaker in 1402, 
xxxvii, 64, 352 

Redman, or Redmayne, Richard, 
xxxvii. Speaker in 1415, 356 

Redress of grievances to precede the 
granting of supplies, temf. Henry 
IV, 66 

Refectory of the Monks of West- 
minster, meeting-place of the Com- 
mons in 1397, 1403-4. 1414. HIS. 
and 1416, 48 

Reformation of Religion Act, 128 

Reform Bill of 1832, 308 ; of 1867, 

" Regale of France,'' a diamond 
stolen from Becket's shrine by 
Henry VIII, 126 

Regency Bill of 1751, opposed by 

Speaker Arthur Onslow, 270- 
Reid, Sir George, xxxi 
" Reign of the Saints," a name 
bestowed on the ' ' Barebone's " 
Parliament, 200 
Remarks on the Grand Tour of France 
and Italy by Speaker Bromley, 

" Remonstrance, The Grand," 189 
Repeal of the Paper Duty, Bill 

rejected by the House of Lords 

i860, 328 
Reporters' Gallery, House of Com- 
mons, first officially recognised, 

Reporting of debates, recorded in 

The Times since its establishment, 

Reporting of debates in the House 

of Commons, 263, 264, 265, 

Representative system, origin of, 6, 

23. 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 

32. 35 
Reunion of the two Houses of Par- 
liament in 1402 for a social purpose, 

Reynell, Mr., a candidate for the 

Chair in 1658-59, 213 
Reynolds, Sir Joshua, xxxiii 
Rheims, 7 
Rich, Sir Richard, (afterwards Lord 

Rich), Speaker in 1536, xxviii, 

XXX, xxxiv, 125, 126, 374 

Z G 

Richard II, King of England, 9, 13, 

55> S7> 59. 60 
Richard III, King of England, 95, 

Richardson, Samuel, author of 
Pamela, 267 ; printing of the Jour- 
nals of the House of Commons 
entrusted to, in 1742, 267 
Richardson, Sir Thomas, Speaker in 
1620-21, xxvii, xxxiii, 170, 171, 
173. 382 
Rickman, John, Clerk-Assistant of 

the House of Commons, 313 
Ridley, White, Sir Matthew, a candi- 
date for the Chair, 338 
Rigby, Richard, 279 
Ripperda, 257 
Robinson, Mr. George, xl 
Robinson, Sir Charles, xxii 
Rockingham Administration, 276 
Rolliad, The, and Speaker Cornwall, 

285 ; on Pitt and Duudas, 291 
Rolls Chapel, 230 

Rolls House, Chancery Lane, former 
residence of many Speakers (as 
Masters of the Rolls), 136 
Rolls of Parliament [liotuli Parlia- 

mentorum), 30, etc. etc. 
Rome, engraving of, xxxii 
Rosamond, Fair, 92 
Rosebery, Earl of, 175 
Rothschild, Messrs., io6 ^ 
Round, Mr. J. H., xl 
Round, Rt. Hon. James, xxxv 
Rous, Francis, Speaker in i653,xxviii, 

XXX, xxxi, xxxv, 200, 384 
Royal Commission on Historical 

Portraits, the necessity for, xxi 
Rules of the House of Commons 
adopted, temp. James I, 168 ; 
great alterations in, adopted in 
1882 and 1888, 334, 335 
"Rump" Parliament, 196, 384, 

Rushworth, John, Clerk-Assistant of 

the House of Commons, xxiii, 

xxxviii, 7, 174, 193 
Russell, Lord Charles, Serjeant-at- 
Arms to the House of Commons, 

289, 326 
Russell, Rt. Hon. G. W. E., 289 
Russell, Lord John, afterwards Earl 

Russell, 315, 323 
Russell, Sir John, Speaker in 1423 

and 1432, xxxvii, 77, 78, 358, 36Q 



Russell, John, Bishop of Lincoln and 
Lord Chancellor, 420 

Russell House, Strand, town resi- 
dence of Speaker Puckering, 142 

Rutland, Duke of, xxvi 

Rutland, Dukes of, xxxiii 

Rutley, Mr. J. L., xl 

St. Albans, 84 

St. Albans, Duke of, 206 

St. Bartholomew's, Smithfield, 126 

St. Benedict's Chapel, Westminster 

Abbey, tomb of Simon Langham 

in, 44 
St. Chad's Church, Shrewsbury, 

burial place of Speaker Richard 

Onslow in 1571, 139 
St. Edward's Chamber, Palace of 

Westminster. Painted Chamber 

sometimes so called, 296 
St. Erasmus' Chapel, Westminster 

Abbey, 95 
St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, 

94, 109 

— burial place of Sir Reginald Bray, 

St. George's Church, Stamford, 

burial place of Speaker Cust, 

St. Giles-in-the-Fields, Church of, 

xxvii ; burial place of Speaker 

Widdrington, 385 
St. James's Park, II, 19, 112 
St. James's Square, town residence 

of Speaker Compton, 254 

— town residence of Speaker Gren- 
ville, 289 

St. John, Oliver, 150 
St. John's College, Oxford, the Presi- 
dent of, xxix 
St. Martin's Church, Canterbury, 

burial place of Speaker John Finch, 

St. Mary Overy's, Southwark, 90 
St. Mary's Church, Bury St. Edmunds, 

burial place of Speaker Drury, 

xxvi, 373 
St. Maur, Mr. Harold, xxxiv 
St. Michael, PaternosterRoyal, burial 

place of Speaker Oldhall, 365 
St. Michael's Chapel, Westminster 

Abbey, Wm. Trussell's tomb in, 

St. Paul's Chapel, Westminster 
Abbey, Speaker Puckering's tomb 
in, 142 

St. Stephen's Chapel, Palace of West- 
minster, xxxviii ; 17, 44, 48, 93, 
131, 138, 156, 201, 295, 296. 301. 
306, 313 • • 

St. Swithin's Lane, 106 

Sac, Le, M., 239 

Sacheverell, Dr., 242 

Saffron Walden, Essex, burial place 
of Speaker Audley, 124 

Salisbury Cathedral, xxiv, 300; burial 
place of Speaker Walter Hunger- 
ford, 357 

Salle Blanche, or White Hall in the 
old Palace of Westminster, 18, 42, 


Salter's Hall, 106 

Sanctuary, The, Westminster, ix, 

Sandys, Lord, 213 
Sanitation in Westminster in the 

Middle Ages, 16 
Saturday holiday of House of 

Commons, due to Sir Robert 

Walpole, 160 
Saunders, Sir Edward, 139 
Savage, Sir Arnold, Speaker in 1400- 

01 and 1403-04, 64, 65, 66, 67, 

68, 352, 354; memorial brass of, 

Sawyer, Margaret, 226 
Sawyer, Sir Robert, Speaker in 1678, 

xxviii, 225, 226, 388 
Say, Sir John, Speaker in 1448-49, 

1463 and 1467, 80, 81, 84, 125, 

362, 366 ; memorial brass of, 

Say, William, Speaker in 1659-60, 

xxxvii, 214, 386 
Scardesburgh, John de. Clerk of 

the House of Commons 1388, 

Scobell, Henry, Clerk of the House 

of Commons, 139, 174, 199 
Scotch members at Westminster in 

1707, 240 
Scott, Sir Gilbert, architect, 112 
Scrope, Geoffrey Le, 33, 40, 342, 


Scrope, William Le, (Earl of Wilt- 
shire), 57 

Selby, Viscount, v. Gully, William 



Selden, John, on peerages old and 

new, 177 
"Self-Denying Ordinance," Eton 

exempted from, 211 
Separation of Lords and Commons, 

supposed date of, 32, 45 
Serjeant-at-Arms of the House of 

Commons, The, xl, 140, 156, 

Serjeant's Inn, 157 
Seymour, Sir Edward, Speaker in 

1678 and 1678-79, xxvii, xxxi, 

xxxiv ; 55, 223, 224, 225, 226, 

231. 236, 388 
Seymour, John, Clerk of the House 

of Commons, temp. Elizabeth, 132 
Shaftesbury, ist Earl of, Anthony 

Ashley-Cooper, 225 ; 3rd Earl, 

Shaftesbury, 6th Earl of, Cropley 

Ashley-Cooper, Chairman of the 

Lords Committee on the Dignity 

of the Peerage, 23 
Shakespeare, William, S7> 123 ; on 

SirJohnBussy,Speakerin 1393-94, 

1396-97, 57 
ShareshuU, Sir William, Chief 

Justice, xxxvii, 41, 346 
Shaw-Lefevre, Charles (Viscount 

Eversley), Speaker in 1839, 1841, 

1847 and 1852, XXX, xxxi, 318, 319, 

320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 32s, 329, 

Shee, Sir Martin Archer, xxxi 
Sheffield, Sir Robert, Speaker in 

1511-12, XXX, 117, 118, 374 
Shelburne, Lord, 282 
Shere, Manors at, xxvi 
Sheridan, Richard Brinsley, 283, 

Shirley, Evelyn Philip, 154 
Shirley, Sir Thomas, 166, 167 
Shore, Jane, 91 

"Short" Parliament of 164O, 1 82 
Shottesbrooke, Berks, 40 
Shovell, Sir Cloudesley, 257 
Shrewsbury, Duke of, the "favourite 

of the nation," 234 
Shrine of Edward the Confessor in 

Westminster Abbey, 126 
Sidmouth, Lord, v. Addington 
Sidmouth, Lady, the second, anec- 
dote of Nelson, 293 
Sidney, Henry, Lord Deputy of 

Ireland, temp. Elizabeth, 143 

Simco, Mr., xxviii 

Simon de Montfort, v. Montfort 

Single Chamber system, proposed re- 
union of Lords and Commons as 
one deliberative body, 65 ; contrast 
between 1402 and 191 1, 65 ; Crom- 
well's adherents chafe under the 
uncontrolled rule of, 198 

Sissinghurst Castle, near Cranbrook, 
Kent, built by Speaker Baker, 
129, 130 

Skelton, Sir John, 127 

Smallbridge, Suffolk, 54 

Smith, "Bobus," his translation of 
Speaker Addington's motto, 294 

Smith, John, Speaker in 1705 and 
1707, xxvii, xxxi, 240, 392 

Smith, William Henry, Rt. Hon., 


Smith's Antiquities of Westminster, 

Snagge, Thomas, Speaker in 1588-89, 
xxvi; 142, 143, 144, 14s, 146, 

Snagge, Sir Thomas, a direct descen- 
dant of the Speaker of that name, 
xxvi, 146, 147 

Soho Square, Speaker Arthur Onslow's 
house in, 256, 257 

Somerset, Dukes of, 84, 224 

Somerset, Duchess of, at Burford 
Priory, 206 

Speaker's Commentary, 332 

Speaker, v. Commons, House of, 
and under individual names ; 
earliest painting of, xxvii ; of the 
Irish Parliament, 97, 138 

Speakers executed, xxxvi 

Speaker's house, collection of por- 
traits at, XXX, xxxi ; parlour at 
Clandon, xxxiv ; residence, xxxvi ; 
salary, xxxvi 

Speeches of the Speakers, 303 

Spring Gardens, 303 

Stamford, St. George's Church, burial 
place of Speaker Cust, 276 

Stanhope, General, 247, 248 

Stanhope, Sir Walter Spencer, Bart., 


Stanley, Arthur Penrhyn, Dean of 
Westminster, x, 5, 6, 40, 41, 94 

Staple in Westminster, 1 7 

State dinner in the Crypt of St. 
Stephen's Chapel, described by 
Speaker Abbot, 296 



Star Chamber, in Palace of West- 
minster, 17, loi, 118, 178, 


Court of, loi 

Statute "De hseretico comburendo," 

Steele, Rev. J. T., xl 
Stew Lane, 21 
"Stiff Dick," a nickname of Sir 

Richard Onslow, Speaker in 1708, 

Stoke Edith, Herefordshire, built by 

Speaker Foley, 232, 233 ; view of, 

Stone Buildings, Lincoln's Inn, 

Stone, Sir Benjamin, xxxviii 

Storey's Gate, 10, 11 

Stourton, William, Speaker in 1413, 
xxiii, xxxvii, 63, 356 

Strangers in the House, temp. Eliza- 
beth, 156 

Strangeways, Sir James, Speaker in 
1461, xxxvii, 89, 366 

Strangways, Colonel, 223 

Strafford, Thomas Wentworth, ist 
Earl of, 183, 189 

Stratford, John, Archbishop of Can- 
terbury, 37 

Strange, John, 115 

Strode, William, 166, 190 

Sturgis, Russell, Mr., 334 

Sturmy, or Esturmy, Sir William, 
Speaker in 1404, xxxvii, 69, 

Subsidy Bills, disputes between Lords 

and Commons in IS93^ 152 ; as to 

preamble of the Bill of Supply in 

1628, 178 
Suffolk, Duchess of, daughter of 

Speaker Chaucer, 72 
Suffolk, Duke of, William de la Pole, 


Supplies, granting of, to follow re- 
dress of grievances, temp. Henry 
IV, 66 

Supply, modern procedure of, fore- 
shadowed in 1380, 54 

Supply, Bills of, 73 ; disputes between 
Lords and Commons in connection 
with, 152, 178 

Sutton Street, Soho Square, 257 

Swift, Jonathan, 240, 246 

Symonds, John, 119 

"Tacking," temp. William III, 

Talbot, Gilbert, 37 
Tanfield, Sir Lawrence, owner of 

Burford Priory, 206 
Tariff Reform in the reign of Queen 

Anne, 247 
Taunton, Lord, 326 
Taxes on House and Land Property, 

unpopularity of, in the Middle 

Ages, 43, 66 
Taylor, Michael Angelo, a possible 

candidate for the Chair, 287 
Temple Bar, 16, 17 
Temple Church, burial place of 

Speaker Hare, 127 
Temple Gate, The New Gallows 

beyond, 75 
Temporary Chambers for Lords and 

Commons, improvised after the 

great fire of 1834, 313 
Tenants in Chief, Lesser, become 

merged in the Knights of the 

Shire, 23 
Tewkesbury, Battle of, two former 

Speakers killed at, 86, 365, 

Thames Ditton, former residence of 

Speaker Arthur Onslow, 273 
Thirty-nine Articles, The, legalised 

by Parliament of 1571, 162 
Thomas, Sir Alfred, 229 
Thomond, Murrough O'Brien, ist 

Earl of, 128 
Thompson, Mr. H. Y., xl 
Thomson, William, Archbishop of 

York, 332 
Thorney Island, Westminster, 10, 

12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, 46 
Thornhill, Sir James, xxxiv, 234 
Thorpe, Thomas, Speaker in 1452- 

53, xxxvi, xxxvii, 83, 364 
Thorpe, William (Chief Justice), 41, 

Thurloe, John, 212 
Thurlow, Lord, 279 
Tierney, George, 290, 301 
Tillotson, John, Archbishop of 

Canterbury, 230 
Times, The, Editor of, (John Delane), 

on qualifications for the Speaker's 

ofjfice, 324; on Speaker Denison's 

retirement, 327 



Times Office, Blackfriars, 120, 123 
Tiptoft, Sir John, (Lord Tiptoft), 

Speaker in 1405-06, 34, 69, 70, 

Tiptoft, Sir John, (Earl pfWorcester), 

son of the Speaker of that name, 

xxxiii, xxxvii, 69, 70, 71; called 

"The butcher of England," 

Tong, Shropshire, burial place of 

Speaker Vernon, xxxvi, 360 
Tooke, John Home, 278 
Torel, William, sculptor, 58 
Torregiano's medallion portrait of 

Speaker Lovell, now in Henry VII's 

Chapel, xxii, 105, 420 
Tory and Whig, early growth of two 

parties so called, 225, 227 
Tothill Fields, 11, 17, 21 
Tower Hill, 71 
Tower of London, 26, 57, 83, 167, 

Townshend, Thomas, the Rt. Hon., 

277, 283 
Trafalgar Square, proposed recon- 
struction of, 112, 113 
Treasury, Royal, in Westminster, 

42, 58 ; at Winchester, 7 
"Tree of Commonwealth," 331 
Trenchard, Sir Thomas, of Wolfeton, 

Dorset, 77 
Tresham, Sir Thomas, Speaker in 

1459, xxxvi, xxxvii, 80, 366 
Tresham, William, Speaker in 1439, 
1441-42, 1446-47, and 1449, xxxvi, 

xxxvii, 79 
Trevor, Arthur, 229 
Trevor, Sir John, Speaker in 1685 

and 1689-90, XXX, 136, 229, 230, 

Triennial Bill of 1640, 189 
Triers of Petitions, 17 
Trussell, William, xxxvii, 33, 40, 342, 

344 ; his tomb in Westminster 

Abbey, 40 
Tumour, Sir Edward, Speaker in 

1661, xxviii, XXX, 216, 217, 218, 

219, 388 
Turvey, Beds, burial place of Speaker 

Mordaunt, xxvi, 371 
Tyburn, lo 
Tydder, Cadwallader, Clerk of the 

House of Commons, temp. Eliza- 
beth, 160 
Tylney, Lord, 256 

Tyrrell, Sir John, Speaker in 1427, 
1430-31, and 1436-37. xxxvii, 360 


Uniformity, Act of, IS49, 132 

Union of Scotland, the Scotch mem- 
bers sit at Westminster for the first 
time, 240 

Up Ottery, Devon, seat of Lord Sid- 
mouth, 293 

Utopia, by Sir Thomas More, 331 

Utrecht, Treaty of, 247 

Valence, Aymer de, Bishop-Elect of 

Winchester, and half-brother to 

King Henry IH, 34, 343 
Vandyck, Anthony, portrait by, at 

Raby Castle, xxviii, xxxi, 123 
Vernon, Sir Richard, Speaker in 

1425-26, xxvi, 360 
Vertue, Robert, architect of Henry 

VII's Chapel, Westminster Abbey, 

Victoria Tower, Palace of West- 
minster, designed by Sir Charles 

Barry, 9 
Votes and Proceedings of the House 

of Commons, earUest issue of, 268 
Vyne, The, Hampshire, property of 

Speaker Chute, 213 


Wadham College, Oxford, xxxv 
Wake, William, Archbishop of 

Canterbury, 14 
Wakefield, Battle of, 85, 86 
Walbrook, 106 
Waldegrave, Earl, xl 
Waldegrave, Sir Richard, Speaker in 

1381, xxxvii, 33, 54, 55, 348 
Wall, Rev. R., xl 

Walpole, Horace, 270, 275,. 278, 282 
Walpole, Sir Robert, 69, 160, 251, 

255, 260, 261, 262, 271 ; portrait 

of, xxxiv 
Walter, John, founder of The Times, 

Walsingham, Sir Francis, 143, 144, 

Walton, or Wauton, Sir Thomas, 

Speaker in 1425, xxxvii, 78, 360 



Warden of the Fleet Prison, 167 

Ware, Richard, Abbot of West- 
minster, 42 

Warfield, Berks, 40 

Warham, William, Archbishop of 
Canterbury, 113 

"War Parliament" of 1511-12, 

Wars of the Roses arrest constitu- 
tionsil progress, 81 

Warwick House, Cloth Fair, town 
residence of Speaker Rich, 126 

Warwick, the "King-maker," 86 

Wauton, V. Walton 

Webster, T. L., Second Clerk- 
Assistant of the House of Com- 
mons, xi 

Wellington Church, Somerset, xxxiv 

Wenlock, Sir John (Lord Wenlock), 
Speaker in I455> xxxvi, xxxvii, 
81, 84, 364 

Wentworth, Peter, 249 

Westminster Abbey, x, xxii, xxvi, 
xxviii, S, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 
l8, 19, 20, 21, 27, 36, 40, 41, 42, 

43. 44. 45. 46, 47. 48. 49. 58. 59. 
62, 85, 94, 95, 105, 109, no, III, 
118, 126, 135, 142, 173, 303 
Westminster Hall, 8, 9, 64, 93, 

Westminster Palace, great fires at, in 

1512, 118; in 1834, 311 
Westminster Stairs, 191 
Westmorland, Earl of, Ralph Nevill, 

Wharton, Lord, 234 
Whig and Tory, early growth of 

rival parties, 225, 227 
"Whimsicals," The, 250 
"Whip with six strings," 127 
White, Sir Thomas, xxix 
White-Ridley, Sir Matthew, v. 

Whitehall, 14, 112, 199, 232 
White Hall or Salle Blanche in the 

old Palace of Westminster, 18, 42, 

"White House" in Soho Square, 

White Lodge in Richmond Park, 

residence of Speaker Addington 

when Lord Sidmouth, 293 
Whitelocke, Bulstrode, Speaker in 

1656-57, xxvii, 212, 213, 231, 


Widdrington, Sir Thomas, Speaker 

in 1656, xxvii, 211, 212, 384 
Wilkes, John, 275, 281 
William III, King of England, 224, 

231, 234, 235, 236, 238 
William IV, King of England, 311, 

313, 315, 318 
William of Colchester, Abbot of 

Westminster, 46, 47, 48 
Williams, Thomas, Speaker in 1562- 

63. 378 ; epitaph on, xxv ; memo- 
rial brass of, xxv 
Williams, Sir William, Speaker in 

1680 and 1680-81, XXX, 228, 229, 

388, 390 
Wilmington, Earl of, v. Compton, 

Sir Spencer 
Windsor, 93, 161 
Wingfield, Major, xxix 
Wingfield, Sir Humphrey, Speaker 

in 1533, xxix, 124, 125, 374 
Winnington Bridge, 202 
Witley, Worcestershire, 232 . 
Wolfeton, Dorset, seat of Sir Thomas 

Trenchard, 77 
Wolsey, Cardinal, 121, 122, 125 
Wood, John, Speaker in 1482-83, 

xxxvii, 93, 368 
Woodfall, H. S., Printer of Parlia- 
mentary debates etc. , 278 
WooUey, Sir John, 149 
Worcester, Earl of, John Tiptoft, 

son of the Speaker of 1405-06, 

xxxii, 70 ; execution of, xxxvi 
Worsop, William, 115 
Wraxall, Sir Nathaniel, on Speaker 

Cornwall, 286 
Wray, Sir Christopher, Speaker in 

1571, xxvii, xxviii, xxxi, 162, 

Wright, John Michael, xxix 
Wriothesley, Sir Thomas, 1st Earl 

of Southampton, 129 
Writ of summons, origin of the 

issue to Members of Parliament, 

Wyatt, James, architect and Sur- 
veyor - General to the Board of 

Works, 300, 301 
Wyndham, Sir William, 261 
Wynn, Sir Watkin, 289, 305 
Wypn, Williams, C, a candidate 

for the Speakership in 1817, 




Yarborough, Earl of, xxix 
Yelverton, Sir Christopher, Speaker 

in 1 597, XXX, 158, 159. 382 
York, 86 

Archbishop of York, William 
Thomson, 332 

Archbishops of, resident at White- 
hall until the fall of Wolsey, 14 
Parliaments held at, 32, 352, 356 
York, Richard Duke of, 85, 86 
"Young Cole," nickname bestowed 
on Speaker Abercromby by Lord 
Brougham, 317 


T has long been a reproach to 
England that only one volume 
has been adequately rendered 
into English ; yet outside this 
country he shares with 
TOLSTOI the distinction 
of being the greatest and most daring 
student of humanity living. 

f There have been many difficulties to 
encounter in completing arrangements for a 
uniform edition, though perhaps the chief bar- 
rier to publication here has been the fact that 
his writings are not for babes — but for men 
and the mothers of men. Indeed, some of his 
Eastern romances are written with biblical can- 
dour. " I have sought truth strenuously," he 
tells us, " I have met her boldly. I have never 
turned from her even when she wore an 


unexpected aspect." Still, it is believed that the day has 
come for giving English versions of all his imaginative 
works, as well as of his monumental study JOAN OF 
ARC, which is undoubtedly the most discussed book in the 
world of letters to-day. 

f MR. JOHN LANE has pleasure in announcing that 
the following volumes are either already published or are 
passing through the press. 











JOAN OF ARC (2 vols.) 

f All the books will be published at 6/- each with the 
exception of JOAN OF ARC, which will be 25/- net 
the two volumes, with eight Illustrations. 

IT The format of the volumes leaves little to be desired. 
The size is Demy 8vo (9 x 5|), and they are printed from 
Caslon type upon a paper light in weight and strong of 
texture, with a cover design in crimson and gold, a gilt top, 
end-papers from designs by Aubrey Beardsley and initials by 
Henry Ospovat. In short, these are volumes for the biblio- 
phile as well as the lover of fiction, and form perhaps the 
cheapest library edition of copyright novels ever published, 
for the price is only that of an ordinary novel. 

f The translation of these books has been entrusted to 
such competent French scholars as mr. Alfred allinson, 



^ As Anatole Thibault, dit Anatole France, is to most 
English readers merely a name, it will be well to state that 
he was born in 1844 in the picturesque and inspiring 
surroundings of an old bookshop on the Quai Voltaire, 
Paris, kept by his father. Monsieur Thibault, an authority on 
eighteenth-century history, from whom the boy caught the 
passion for the principles of the Revolution, while from his 
mother he was learning to love the ascetic ideals chronicled 
in the Lives of the Saints. He was schooled with the lovers 
of old books, missals and manuscript ; he matriculated on the 
Quais with the old Jewish dealers of curios and obfels (fart; 
he graduated in the great university of life and experience. 
It will be recognised that all his work is permeated by his 
youthful impressions ; he is, in fact, a virtuoso at large. 

fl; He has written about thirty volumes of fiction. His 
first novel was JOCASTA & THE FAMISHED CAT 
appeared in 1 881, and had the distinction of being crowned 
by the French Academy, into which he was received in 1896. 

H His work is illuminated with style, scholarship, and 
psychology ; but its outstanding features are the lambent wit, 
the gay mockery, the genial irony with which he touches every 
subject he treats. But the wit is never malicious, the mockery 
never derisive, the irony never barbed. To quote from his own 
GARDEN OF EPICURUS : "Irony and Pity are both of 
good counsel ; the first with her smiles makes life agreeable, 
the other sanctifies it to us with her tears. The Irony t 
invoke is no cruel deity. She mocks neither love nor 
beauty. She is gentle and kindly disposed. Her mirth 
disarms anger and it is she teaches us to laugh at rogues and 
fools whom but for her we might be so weak as to hate." 

H Often he shows how divine humanity triumphs over 
mere asceticism, and with entire reverence ; indeed, he 
might be described as an ascetic overflowing with humanity, 
just as he has been termed a "pagan, but a pagan 
constantly haunted by the pre-occupation of Christ." 
He is in turn — like his own Choulette in THE RED 
LILY — saintly and Rabelaisian, yet without incongruity. 


At all times he is the unrelenting foe of superstition and 
hypocrisy. Of himself he once modestly said : " You will 
find in liiy writings perfect sincerity (lying demands a talent 
I do not possess), much indulgence, and some natural 
affection for the beautiful and good." 

f The mere extent of an author's popularity is perhaps a 
poor argument, yet it is significant that two books by this 
author are in their HUNDRED AND TENTH THOU- 
SAND, and numbers of them well into their SEVENTIETH 
THOUSAND, whilst the one which a Frenchman recently 
described as " Monsieur France's most arid book " is in its 

f Inasmuch as M. FRANCE'S ONLY contribution to 
an English periodical appeared in THE YELLOW BOOK, 
vol, v., April 1895, together with the first important English 
appreciation of his work from the pen of the Hon. Maurice 
Baring, it is peculiarly appropriate that the English edition 
of his works should be issued from the Bodley Head. 


_ 190 

To Mr _ 


Please send me the following works of Anatole France: 




JOAN OF ARC (2 Vols.) 

for which I enclose. „ _ 


Address , _ _ 

JOHN LANE, Publisher, The Bodlev Head, Vigo St., London, W. 

3^0 TICK 

'Those who possess old letters, documents, corre- 
spondence, £MSS., scraps of autobiography, and also 
miniatures and portraits, relating to persons and 
matters historical, literary, political and social, should 
communicate with efTkfr. John Lane, The Bodley 
Head, Vigo Street, London, W., who will at all 
times be pleased to give his advice and assistance, 
either as to their preservation or publication. 




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* * 

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A LATER PEPYS. The Correspondence of Sir 
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THE LIFE OF W. J. FOX, Public Teacher and 

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*»* f- /• Fax was a prominent figure in public life Jrom iSzo to i860. From a 
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AND HIS KINDRED. By A. M. W. Stirling, Author of 
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*»• Tht writer, who has lived mnch in France, is thorougrhly acquainted 'with French 
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MEN AND LETTERS. By Herbert Paul, m.p. 

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